Poaching is a serious problem for conservation, not only in Africa. The Israel National Park Authority (INPA) and the European Ranger Federation (ERF) are therefore planning a webinar series on anti poaching. Ilan Yeger, head of the anti poaching department at INPA, explains the themes, objectives and how the exchange of ideas works in this series. Read our interview to find out how it is helping to fight poaching with a united effort.
Ilan, you planned the webinar series in coordination with the ERF. What is your motivation to offer it to the European rangers?
Ilan: Germany lost two police officers lately. Their murder was related to poaching. There was a similar case in Spain. All over the world, not just here in Israel, unfortunately people come to the wilderness to drink, take drugs or do other illegal activities like poaching, because they think no one will take them accountable here. And again and again the lives of rangers or policemen are at stake who take action against them. From my experience as manager of the anti-poaching department I learned that many countries import people from abroad to work in agriculture. We see that they are often professional hunters, working with traditional, simple methods like wire to lay out snare traps. If we don’t act now and provide those immigrants with information about the illegality of hunting wildlife, we might lose all our lizards within five years, just to give an example.
What are the main objectives of the webinar series?
Ilan: They should motivate rangers to think out of the box to have more anti-poaching instruments at hand. One of the core topics are legal instruments. Not so much israeli law, but the concept of round tables in order to join forces. With the combined power of the police, the environmental department and many other stakeholders with their legal options, we can double the power of every ranger in each country to fight poaching. This is also the idea of our ranger associations: by learning from each other we can multiply our forces to protect nature. Each of the webinar subjects – working with volunteers, protection of rangers, working with DNA analysis, how to track poaching traces and more – should bring ideas to other ranger associations to implement them in the field. We will learn plenty of things from other associations as well. At our last anti-poaching training in 2019, we learned for example about how colleagues deal with illegal fishing: Their idea is, not to patrol at sea, but to set up the ambush on the land and use high quality equipment to observe the sea. Volunteers do that job and call the rangers in case of suspicion. This saves a lot of energy and money.
How will the webinars run? How are the slots for questions and discussions organized?
Ilan: First we will watch a video with lectures on each topic. Then we will have sessions via Zoom, where participants can ask their questions. They will be answered live in a very friendly atmosphere, where we will also have room to exchange our ideas in a discussion. The webinars will be broadcasted regularly on www.europeanrangers.org, the website of the ERF, and are open to every ranger. I think after all the great experience with congresses like that of the International Ranger Federation in Nepal or Colorado or our latest gathering in Czechia, Zoom is a great opportunity to share ideas for all rangers. Because after all, not everyone has the time or money to attend on-site congresses.
WANT TO JOIN THE ANTI-POACHING WEBINARS?
Check out our training site from time to time. If you would like to register in advance, please send an email with the subject “Anti-poaching webinar” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, member association and contact address. As soon as the Zoom participation links are out, we will send them to you.
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