(Johannesburg, South Africa – September 28, 2016) Today enforcement officials and global thought leaders will gather at a CITES side event as INTERPOL and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) announce their cooperation on IFAW’s tenBoma initiative in Kenya, which represents an important expansion of their longstanding collaboration combatting global wildlife trafficking.
“INTERPOL applauds IFAW and the Kenya Wildlife Service for piloting the tenBoma counter-poaching initiative in Kenya. They have shown unprecedented willingness to share information, learn from each other, and collaborate on developing intelligence led enforcement strategies that are appropriate and have been effective against poaching and trafficking hotspots,” said David Higgins, Head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Sub-Directorate. “INTERPOL is delighted to help expand this initiative and enhance its impact across national borders.”
In addition to David Higgins who will speak at the event, Professor Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary, Republic of Kenya will provide a keynote speech. Other speakers will include Kitili Mbathi Director General, Kenya Wildlife Service, and for IFAW speakers will include President and CEO, Azzedine Downes; James Isiche, Regional Director, Eastern Africa; Steve Njumbi, Head of Programs Eastern Africa and Faye Cuevas, Chief of Staff and tenBoma project lead.
Cuevas, Mbathi, and Higgins will also participate in a panel discussion including special guests Dickson Ole Kaelo, Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) and Mohamed Koikai Oloitiptip, Olgulului Olalarashi Group Ranch (OOGR). “I cannot say enough about the commitment of local communities and KWS intelligence, operations, and front line units who embraced our initial pilot program and worked with us to develop it further,” says Cuevas. “Just last month, an integrated tenBoma/KWS team collaborated on operations that captured suspected poachers just before they reached their rhino targets. The animals were saved and we have gathered actionable intelligence that will continue to yield results into the future.”
IFAW’s tenBoma initiative connects an existing African community security philosophy with criminal network targeting principles to form a network of eyes, ears, and enforcement that can predict and interdict poaching of iconic species.
tenBoma includes new technology used by both rangers in the field and intelligence and operations officers in Nairobi, but an important differentiator from other technology-focused approaches is that tenBoma technology provides an open wildlife security enforcement ecosystem framework. Training, mentoring and collaboration among the people using the system is more important than any specific technological component.
tenBoma can take in information from multiple sources – from community tips, ranger reports, conservation partners and publically available geospatial data, and enforcement databases. Trained analysts review this data and provide targeted up-to-the-minute reports to operations on the ground.
“The open and inclusive nature of the tenBoma initiative enables everyone who cares about wildlife and security to collaborate and enhance their impact, from small community groups to national and international law enforcement,” IFAW president and CEO, Azzedine Downes emphasized. “We welcome new partners and look forward to working with them to continuously evolve this enforcement network to work for all partners. Together, we will be stronger and more effective in destroying criminal trafficking networks than any of us could have been alone.”