Despite their vast size, tropical forests are surprisingly sensitive to disturbances within the ecosystem and the demise of keystone species, such as forest elephant, can cause the decline of many other species. Therefore, effective law enforcement is essential in ensuring the fragile balance is not disrupted through illegal activities such as poaching for bushmeat.
Rangers regularly receive training in tracking, human rights, crime scene management, judicial procedures and other skills.
Odzala-Kokoua´s original ranger recruitment, selection and training process began with the independent evaluation of the existing ranger team. Those that did not fit in with the selection criteria were redeployed, while the others went through additional training to bring them up to the required level. Additional rangers were recruited from surrounding communities and through the ‘Poacher to Protector’ programme which saw ex-poachers receive amnesty for handing in their firearms and declaring any previous illegal poaching activities.
Capturing data is vital for effective protection of conservation areas.
To better coordinate efforts to prevent poaching, the park formed its own Intelligence Unit. The Unit’s four analysts and six investigators provide full operational coverage across the entire park and its periphery.
EarthRanger technology aggregates and displays data including vehicle movements, ranger team locations, movements of collared animals and illegal incidents. The park´s ULM aircraft is a great support for monitoring of key environmental areas which are otherwise difficult to reach in the rainforest environment.
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