Driving the Conversation on Natural Security

Stimson Spotlight

Driving the Conversation on Natural Security

The Stimson Center is bridging the divide between environmental crime, global security, and smart technology. The Center’s research and analysis is driving policy conversations in the U.S. and around the world, and its pragmatic engagement in the field is bringing together the public and private sectors in an effort to provide new and innovative tools to combat poaching and wildlife crime.

Driving the Policy Conversation

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Stimson’s Johan Bergenas and Sen. Chris Coons at a screening of National Geographic’s “Warlords of Ivory.” See photos from the screening here.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) addresses wildlife poaching at recent Stimson Center event.

This weekend, Stimson Senior Associate Johan Bergenas participated on a panel focused on wildlife crime together with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). Late last year, Sen. Coons and Sen. Flake (R-AZ) introduced a bill to combat the growing national and global security threat posed by poaching and wildlife crime. This piece of legislation will sustain the vast amount of energy that has been developed over the last few years in this field to combat the rampant challenge of wildlife crime. Stimson also recently hosted Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), who is a leading voice on global anti-poaching efforts. 

Empowering Park Rangers in Kenya

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Park rangers in Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary give feedback to Stimson’s Johan Bergenas on a new mobile technology developed by Stimson’s partner Linkoping University to defend against poachers and to more effectively monitor wildlife. See more photos of Stimson’s work in the field here.

With the support from the United Kingdom’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, Stimson has partnered with the Kenya Wildlife Service and is coordinating other public and private sector actors to use smart technology to combat poaching and wildlife crime. This week, a team of trainers are in the field to further train and equip the rangers to use a mobile technology deployed last year. We invite you to read about the initiative and the progress being made in the field and watch the video here to learn more about Project Ngulia.

Drawing High-Level Attention to Wildlife Crime and Beyond

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Also home to the elephants, the Ngulia rhino sanctuary and the surrounding area carry the name “rhino valley” because once upon a time this place was home to about 10,000 rhinos. Today, there are less than a hundred left in the area, although the population has grown 40 percent in the two-and-half years since the project began. 

Bergenas’ ongoing efforts are part of a growing body of work at Stimson focused on U.S. and global security challenges posed by environmental crime, which is one of the largest illicit enterprises worldwide. Stimson is actively participating to raise awareness and to move public policy discussions forward with research and analysis, which can be most recently seen in two Cipher Brief articles on wildlife poaching and oceans as the world’s largest crime scene.

To learn more about our ongoing work, please visit the Partnerships in Security and Development program webpage or contact Stimson Senior Associate Johan Bergenas.