For the past two years, governments around the world have been discussing how to help address the global poaching problem. Increasing the awareness of poaching has been a success, but few on the ground actions have been taken to address the actual problems.
SCI Foundation and Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants (H.O.P.E.) recently partnered in support of sustainable use, anti-poaching, anti-wildlife trafficking, and humanitarian efforts in Africa. Our first on the ground contribution to anti-poaching teams will be in the form of uniform donations.
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC) Academy Class 177, located in California, contacted SCI Foundation seeking opportunities to donate old uniforms to antipoaching units around the world. A total of 252 pants, 407 shirts, and 55 jackets will be outfitting multiple African based anti-poaching units this summer.
H.O.P.E. is facilitating the transfer of uniforms to the Dande Anti-Poaching Unit (DAPU) in Zimbabwe, which patrols over 500,000 acres daily. DAPU is currently facing a crippling budgetary shortfall due to US and EU bans on the import of elephant trophies in Zimbabwe. These bans have led to a significant decrease in the safari sales, severely limiting their ability to support DAPU operations. The uniform donation allows funding to be allocated to equipment and training, and establishes a presence of H.O.P.E. and SCI Foundation. The uniforms will be patched with patrol unit numbers and SCI Foundation and H.O.P.E. logos.
“At SCI Foundation, we strive for on-the-ground progress,” SCI Foundation President, Joe Hosmer said. “H.O.P.E.’s experience in law enforcement and ability to provide the necessary resources to disrupt wildlife trafficking allows us to make a real impact.”
We thank the LETC for their generous uniform donation and hope they have set an example on how others can help African wildlife conservation. We hope to continuously help anti-poaching units such as DAPU meet their resource needs so they can instead focus on enforcement. SCI Foundation will remain poised to assist and advise on the development of such programs and demonstrate how hunter-conservationists can continue to contribute as the strongest advocates for curtailing poaching.