Capacity building

WCS works with all levels of government to promote an understanding of the illegal wildlife trade. We consider it vitally important to work with frontline departments such as the National Forest Protection Department, the Environmental Police, the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Economic and position-related crime investigation police. 

Local authorities are at the front line of law enforcement, and require significant expertise in investigating and identifying cases of illegal wildlife trade. Although WCS can provide evidence and intelligence, by training local authorities WCS is enabling the Vietnamese Government to become self-sustaining with the aim that more and more cases of illegal wildlife trafficking will be successfully investigated and lead to convictions.

WCS has developed training programs, workshops and software to aid law enforcement personnel with their investigations. WCS also implements training programs for other departments such as the Supreme People’s Procuracy (SPC) and the Committee for Communication and Education (CCPE) to provide WCS’ expert insight into the scope of illegal wildlife trafficking to enable accurate legal decision making by SPC and insightful accurate reporting by the CCPE.

Key Work:


Species identification training with local authorities from Quang Ninh province - 2013

Species Identification:

●      For many law enforcement agencies wildlife species identification is not generally a training focus. Species identification is a scientific function and can be a difficult skill to master. WCS recognised this and in 2012 launched a Vietnamese online platform to allow authorities to access species identification information.

●      The website titled giam dinh loai provides pictures of live species and wildlife products as well as supporting text which enables local authorities to accurately identify whether they have come across a species which has been used or transported illegally. It gives authorities the options of sending photographs to WCS experts in order to verify whether their interpretation is correct.

●      WCS has also run species identification training with frontline personnel such as the Forest Protection Department, the Environmental Police and the Economic and position-related crime investigation police, the Market Control Department and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. This training has focussed on providing a hands-on experience to field officers to provide knowledge which can easily be utilised in their daily activities.


Intelligence/investigation training in Ho Chi Minh City - 2016

Intelligence Training:

●      WCS has worked closely with the Centre of Criminology Research and Criminal Investigation (Police Academy) to provide intelligence training to enable more effective investigations into illegal wildlife crime.

●      The training has focussed on investigation techniques such as gathering of intelligence from multiple sources including online and physical. The development of online sales has created an easy platform which has to date not been well monitored. Through implementation of this training WCS has provided the knowledge and support to monitor online activities.


Capacity assessment of local police forces - 2016

Wildlife crime knowledge:

●      WCS has worked to enhance the knowledge of law enforcement authorities of wildlife crime dynamics. Training has been provided to authorities such as the General department of customs, the Vietnam Border Defence Force, the National Forest Protection Department, Environmental police, the Economic and position-related crime investigation police, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Supreme People’s Procuracy.

●      The training aims to provide a thorough understanding of wildlife trade dynamics and a background knowledge of previous incidences of illegal wildlife trade. The training also introduces local authorities to existing mechanisms and broader agencies for wildlife crime control such as ASEAN - Wildlife Enforcement Agency, CITES, Interpol, the National Anti-corruption steering committee.

WCS trained local law enforcement agencies were part of a major crackdown relating to the smuggling of wildlife products across the border between Vietnam and China. Prior to WCS training many law enforcement authorities in the province were of the view that there was no illegal trade across the border, however subsequent to the training were a main lead in the crackdown.