The first "graduates" of the Wildlife Crime Academy in the battle against poison baits.
Five representatives of Greek state services are now specialised in the investigation of crimes against wildlife, since last April, who have successfully completed the three intensive training courses of the Wildlife Crime Academy, which was organised in Spain.
The one-of-a-kind Academy is implemented since 2021, in the framework of the Balkan Detox LIFE Project, coordinated by the Vulture Conservation Foundation and the Regional Government of Andalusia, whose staff has many years of experience in managing and investigating wildlife crime.
The main purposes of the Academy is to train specialists and representatives of law enforcement agencies in conducting proper investigation, to identify the perpetrators and to change as well the perception that prevails, concerning these crimes, which bring a little concern to the authorities and are very often not prosecuted.
So far, the seminars have been attended by 44 scientists and services from nine European countries, with an emphasis on the Balkan region. For Greece, the training was completely attended by three executive members of the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA), a veterinarian-toxicologist and a forest ranger, while representatives of the Hellenic Police also participated in the first two levels.
The invitation to participate the Academy’s course was sent to all the relevant services by the Hellenic ORNITHOLOGICAL Society, partner of Balkan Detox LIFE Program in Greece and one of the leading Organizations in the fight for reducing and eliminating wildlife crime in the country.
Although coming from different authorities, all participants, who completed all three levels of the training, are now qualified to conduct an effective investigation, as they have been trained in operational protocols for investigating wildlife crimes and collecting and analyzing methods of evidence from crime scenes (CSI and Forensic Analysis), that facilitate the identification and conviction of the perpetrators, contributing also to the prevention of specific illegal activities.
Knowledge and skills exchange, which were acquired during the seminars, to fellow trainees and their application on protected and critically endangered species, such as many species of vultures and birds of prey, is an additional key objective of the Academy.