Over the past year, I have been encouraged to see more and more wildlife criminals being brought to justice, like the recent undercover sting in Delhi that netted half a ton of ivory and resulted in the arrest of a major criminal kingpin, Umesh Aggrawal.
With support from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Indian authorities identified Aggrawal through a combination of human and digital intelligence including local community tips and detailed analysis of phone records from elephant poachers.
Another success came from INTERPOL's Infra Terra, which urged the public to provide information on suspects identified by member countries as their "most wanted." IFAW supported this operation, which led to the arrest of Rajkumar Praja, the ringleader of a rhino poaching network wanted by Nepal, and Feisal Mohamed Ali, the ringleader of an ivory smuggling ring in Kenya.
We know that poaching is big business.
We know that poaching networks have become professionalized. They are large, well-resourced and sophisticated. Defeating them is not easy. To save elephants from the threat of extinction we need to be able to predict poaching attacks and catch poachers before they kill, not just chase them after the elephants are dead.