Wildlife crime and disease are major concerns—and are expected to increase. Unfortunately, we have reports indicating a rise in wildlife poisoning cases and zoonotic diseases [a disease that normally exists in animals but that can infect humans]. To understand and combat these issues, IAPF’s Akashinga rangers attended a two-day wildlife forensics training facilitated by the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT). Topics included:
- poisoning incident reporting and investigation procedures;
- postmortem techniques and sample collection;
- major diseases of wildlife and livestock;
- and the importance of wildlife disease in conservation and local livelihoods.
The VFWT says: “This initiative helps rangers on the ground to differentiate between natural mortalities, and poaching incidents such as poisoning. The course focuses on being able to identify a wildlife crime scene and securing the crime scene for investigation, including improved evidence collection and chain of custody.” The training was well-timed and helpful, because our rangers are often first responders in the field—and they are now much better positioned to handle poisoning incidents and report diseases. Please take a moment to learn more about our Akashinga ranger program.