Original article: https://balkandetoxlife.eu/2021/07/06/first-wildlife-crime-academy/
Let’s be honest: death plays a significant part in wildlife conservation. Conservationists can spend years protecting wild species and their habitats, and suddenly one illegal poisoning incident can wipe out an entire vulture colony in the Republic of North Macedonia, poachers in Bulgaria can kill a recently re-introduced Cinereous Vulture, or combining these illegal practices can bring the Egyptian Vulture to the edge of extinction in Greece. But these animals do not have to die in vain.
Poisoning, poaching, trapping, collision, electrocution, and illegal trade are all examples of severe wildlife crimes but are all overlooked and under-prosecuted. Why is that? Well for starters, the victims of these crimes do not have a voice, making them powerless unless people care. Secondly, when it comes to solving these crimes, investigators face several setbacks such as remote crime scenes with degrading evidence, unreliable or no witnesses, nonexistent protocols, and lack of specific training. It is urgent to prioritise and fight these crimes head-on by conducting proper investigations and achieving convictions to deter similar cases from occurring again, since impunity is often an invitation for people to continue to kill and poison wildlife. This is where the Wildlife Crime Academy (WCA) comes in to bridge the knowledge and capacity gaps, and change the attitude towards wildlife crime to be treated like any other crime.