The Wildlife Justice Commission steps up the fight against wildlife crime in Southeast Asia

To mark the registration and in-country presence of the Wildlife Justice Commission in Thailand, we hosted, today, a launch event at the Residence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Thailand in Bangkok.  

Southeast Asia is an essential region in the global fight against wildlife crime. It is the home to many vulnerable species and over the past decade law enforcement in the region has made significant progress in addressing wildlife trafficking. Having a base in the region will allow the Wildlife Justice Commission to continue its close cooperation with national law enforcement in Thailand and the Greater Mekong region, particularly by conducting joint investigations and sharing intelligence. This will also enable the Wildlife Justice Commission to further expand its capacity-building work, in particular through its Project Galvanise. 

Welcome and introductory remarks were given by Deputy Ambassador Miriam Otto and our Executive Director, Olivia Swaak-Goldman, who also presented the work of the Wildlife Justice Commission. Our Director of External Relations, Lisa Hartevelt elaborated on the global trends in wildlife crime. Tao Zhiqiang of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Brian Gonzalez of WWF Hong Kong highlighted regional trends in wildlife crime in the Greater Mekong Region.  

In a session on regional cooperation in the fight against wildlife crime, Suriyon Prabhasavat of the Office of the Attorney General of Thailand, Chotika Arintchai of Thai Customs, and Natalia Nadia Yahya of Sabah Wildlife Department presented case studies and shared experiences demonstrating the importance of cooperating with other services as well as with NGOs such as the Wildlife Justice Commission to effectively combat wildlife trafficking. A key success of this type of partnership was showcased by Pol. Maj. Theerawat Chukorn of the Natural Resources & Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED), who spoke about the rescue operation of a leopard cub as a result of a joint investigation with the Wildlife Justice Commission and US Fish and Wildlife Service in February 2021.  

During the event, our capacity-building work in the Greater Mekong region, in particular Project Galvanise, generously funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, was presented. The three-year project, started in 2021, and is designed to expand our in-house Intelligence Development Unit (IDU) into a global Intelligence Development Unit to combat and prevent wildlife crime in Southeast Asia. Members of Project Galvanise Steering Group, which brings together key stakeholders, instrumental for strategic decision making, monitoring progress and addressing challenges, were present at the launch event. They had met in Bangkok for the second time the previous day, on 8 June 2023. 

The Wildlife Justice Commission is looking forward to connecting and collaborating with new partners and expanding its work against wildlife crime in Southeast Asia through its new in-country presence in Thailand.