Key officers, regional chiefs, and wildlife crime investigators from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Philippine National Police Maritime Group, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Customs (BoC), and staff of the National Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee-Sub-Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (NALECC-SCENR) participated in a Wildlife Forensics and Criminal Investigation Training.
The training enabled participants to enhance their knowledge and skills in collecting and handling various kinds of evidences, including forensic evidence at wildlife crime scenes, genetic evidence, and trace evidence for poisons, fingerprints and shoe prints. The intensive training also featured topics on investigation, interview and interrogation techniques for witnesses and suspects, evidence documentation and tagging, digital forensics and case filing. Participants processed a simulated wildlife crime scene through securing evidence, methodical crime scene search and DNA collection. In order to test their analysis skills, the trainees were made to interview a simulated suspect, trying to draw out information to trace the flow of a given wildlife crime.
Specialized subjects on wildlife identification and handling, ivory examination, and a walkthrough at the DNA barcoding laboratory at the University of the Philippines Institute of Biology (UPIB) also highlighted the training. Finally, an in-depth legal discussion on key elements of the crime, judicial affidavits and mock inquest proceeding completed the training.
USAID’s Protect Wildlife project and the Partnership for Biodiversity Conservation Phase 3 (PBC3) supported the training, in partnership with NALECC-SCENR, DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau, National Museum, University of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice. The combined expertise from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various Philippines national agencies served as the trainers pool. (PWP/ Lawrence San Diego)