PAMS partners with the National Task Force Anti-Poaching (NTAP). This multi-agency unit operates across Tanzania to reduce poaching and combat illegal wildlife and timber trade.
Tanzania once had one of the largest elephant populations in the world. Sadly, due to large-scale elephant poaching, Tanzania lost approximately 60% of its elephant population over a 5-year period from 2009 to 2014. In late 2013, PAMS Foundation, through a Public Private Partnership initiative, started supporting the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) to tackle the poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking through an intelligence led approach.
Great achievements were made, and today, an arm of the NTSCIU has merged and evolved into what is now known as the National Taskforce Anti-Poaching (NTAP) to continue the exemplary work. PAMS continues to support the NTAP and work side by side with this multi-agency unit to tackle poaching, illegal logging and illegal wildlife trafficking in Tanzania and neighboring countries. Thanks to the efforts of the NTSCIU, ongoing efforts of the NTAP, high level political will and the Public Private Partnership, elephants and rhino and surrounding biodiversity are again safe in Tanzania.
Illegal Wildlife Trafficking involves crimes from elephant ivory to rhino horns to illegal logging of trees. Illegal wildlife trafficking is complex, involving an array of different fauna and flora and a variety of markets and drivers. It is of a transnational nature, being coordinated across several countries simultaneously, making it particularly difficult to trace, arrest and prosecute key members of the syndicates. It is also a source of funding for organized serious crimes and global terrorist networks.
Africa’s amazing biodiversity and wildlife abundance is particularly threatened by illegal wildlife trafficking. Wildlife trafficking doesn’t affect the survival of just one species or one habitat, it has numerous conservation and associated security concerns for us all. Many of these environmental crimes are plotted and planned in the community areas surrounding conservation areas, resulting in some community members being lured into taking part in these activities due to poverty. However, it is the higher-level syndicate members and leaders which are driving the trade and are often involved in other organized crimes.
To make a strategic impact and shape inter-generational change, emphasis needs to be placed on mid-and high-level criminals through close cooperation with other countries. Decreasing the ease of passage within a country and from one country to another is critical to disrupt and deny opportunities for poachers and traders. This can only be achieved through strong, trusted national and transnational relationships as well as targeting pinch points along the value chain.
Unfortunately, targeting high-level criminals involved in serious crimes such as illegal wildlife trafficking, firearms smuggling, etc can and has resulted in security risks for those implementing or supporting these actions. Thus, embedding a robust security and threat adaptation model within the PAMS structure has been critical.
PAMS supports the Tanzania Police Detection Dogs Unit on an ongoing basis. These well-trained dogs and their handlers work at strategic locations across Tanzania to detect contraband such as ivory, pangolin scales, narcotics and firearms. The program provides dog food, veterinary care, special operations, transportation and includes having trained up numerous dogs, handlers and detection dog training instructors. The unit has also successfully trained up local dog breeds, as they are more resistant to disease and local climatic conditions, and are a more cost effective and more sustainable long term solution for detection.