Boosting enforcement and forensic capacity to deter wildlife trafficking in Sabah

Project Description

Duration: October 2019 – October 2021

Wildlife trafficking is the fourth most lucrative illegal trade globally, worth an estimated 7 – 23 billion USD annually. In Sabah, hunting, poaching, and illegal trade have been recognised as real threats to species such as the banteng, the clouded leopard and the proboscis monkey. One of the objectives of the State Action Plans on these species is to increase the investigative and enforcement capacities of wildlife law enforcement agencies and of key partners in conservation in Sabah.
This project aims to reduce illegal wildlife trafficking by improving the quality of prosecution, thus increasing the conviction of wildlife crimes in Sabah by having specialized teams within the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). These teams will work in close relationship with relevant agencies and stakeholders, generating key intelligence information, disseminating it through the most efficient channels, and also securing evidence and to process it as much as possible within Sabah for an expedite processing of cases.
Key activities include:
The establishment of an Intelligence Unit (IU) within the SWD, to closely monitor illegal wildlife trade and trafficking in Sabah.
The establishment of an Inter-Agency Working Group (IAGW) focusing on intelligence, to optimise the available resources leading to improved quality in prosecution processes.
The establishment of a Forensic Unit (FU) within the SWD, working under a certified DNA wildlife forensics scheme, to locally process wildlife crimes in Sabah.

Currently, the IU, FU and IAWG members are being trained in different topics including crime investigation methods, wildlife crime analyses, legislation, corruption risk management, biosafety, and DNA wildlife forensic sampling and methods. The IAWG now comprises 14 law enforcement and/or conservation agencies from Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. Also, the SWD’s Wildlife Health, Genetic and Forensic Laboratory  is being secured and supported to complete the certification process by the Society for Wildlife Forensic Science. Finally, DNA data from Sabahan wildlife is being added to an international forensic reference database.

Sabah Wildlife Department

Other partners
TRACE Wildlife Forensic Network

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Department of State, USA.