ASEAN Wildlife Forensics Network

ASEAN-WEN Wildlife Forensics Project- A Darwin Initiative.

Project leader: Dr Ross McEwing, TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network, UK.
Project manager (UK): Jen Mailley, TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network.
TRAFFIC SE Asia lead: Mr Chris Shepherd, Acting Director.
Key TRAFFIC SEA consultant: Ms Noorainie Awang Anak.
Start date: 01/09/09
Duration of project: 3 years
End date: 31/08/12

Purpose of the project: To provide the ability for members of the ASEAN WEN to undertake coordinated wildlife forensic analysis for CITES enforcement operations and to deter further wildlife crime in the ASEAN region.

Need for the project: The need for increased forensic capability was identified through calls for assistance in this area from government authorities in Malaysia and Thailand to TRACE and TRAFFIC SE Asia. The need for practical enforcement techniques is explicitly highlighted as a priority in the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network Strategic Action Plan (2007- 2012). At the Third Regional ASEAN-WEN Meeting (Lao, May 2008), the enforcement officers again raised the urgent need for forensic investigations training to be conducted for all member countries.

Overall strategy: This project aims to develop capacity for wildlife forensic investigations within ASEAN countries and foster collaborative CITES enforcement amongst them. In doing so, it will improve the ability of ASEAN nations to enforce national conservation legislation and thereby comply with CITES and CBD obligations. These goals will be met through the implementation of a series of Capacity Building, Training and Research measures, undertaken to support the long-term ASEAN-WEN commitment to the development of wildlife law enforcement in the region.

Project Outputs:

Capacity Building:
1. Implementation of management systems and accredited protocols within selected existing facilities modelled on current UK wildlife forensic systems, modified to meet in-country needs.
2. Development of cross-departmental co-operation among wildlife, police, customs and forensic departments within each host country, through annual seminars and workshops for stakeholders.
3. Establishment of an online web resource to network all wildlife forensic centres throughout the region thereby facilitating the reciprocal transfer of techniques, reference samples and data.

1. Provision of a number of specialist training courses in host countries on evidence collection and analysis, for ASEAN wildlife enforcement officers and laboratory staff.
2. Training of host-country laboratory research staff in the UK in methods for the development of new techniques, to enable regional laboratories to meet future needs.

1. Identification of specific current needs in the ASEAN region and the subsequent development of forensic species identification tools to compliment monitoring tools being designed by the ASEAN-WEN support programme.
2. Creation of a species reference sample collection allowing shared access among partners. The collection will be maintained in separate host countries, but managed and accessed via a web portal.
3. Implementation and supervision of O/S country R&D projects to develop forensic ID systems.