Robert Fahlman’s presentation was titled “Blood Ivory: A Global Law Enforcement Response to Combating Transnational Wildlife Crime.” Fahlman, who retired as Director General of RCMP Criminal Intelligence after 35 years with the RCMP and is now president of R&D Fahlman Consulting, Inc., was chosen to prepare a report, including suggested solutions to the on-going slaughter of African elephants.
Fahlman warned that some of his presentation would prove disturbing and first off was the fact that an elephant is killed every 15 minutes. He said that 100 years ago there were an estimated 20 to 25 million elephants and today that number has been reduced to about 500,000. He suggested that world affluence has led to the demand for ivory trinkets and also said that poor African poachers can earn a year’s salary from one pair of elephant tusks.However, there is also a growing involvement of transnational organized crime in the poaching and ivory trafficking. He said there have been incidents were whole herds of elephants, including young without tusks, have been slaughtered.
The greatest demand for ivory is in China and southeast Asia and Fahlman said that corruption among government and enforcement groups presents a real problem in the attempt to control the trafficking. Fahlman said a 5 to 10-year commitment, with a detailed action plan with the involvement of professional criminal intelligence and law enforcement groups, including Interpol, is essential to the success in the fight against this problem. Despite the bleak statistics and findings is his report, Fahlman remains optimistic that the trafficking can be controlled. One of the bright points in the whole situation is the baby elephant foster parent programme set up by the David Sheldrick Wild-life Trust.