Global Conservation Force (GCF) is dedicated to saving wildlife from extinction through education, anti-poaching and conservations efforts.
The poaching crisis is a multifaceted problem and GCF takes a comprehensive approach to working with local anti-poaching units, communities, and wildlife conservation organizations to meet their unique needs.
Anti-Poaching Units (APUs) – The APUs hold the shield for the wildlife, buying time for action in international laws, local policy change and political stability. GCF works with APUs to identify and provide the necessary gear and advanced training they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
Some APUs' needs are for basic resources: flashlights, water bladders, and backpacks. One APU was operating without adequate footwear, and GCF helped provide them with socks and boots. Some APUs needs include customized gear that is optimal for their region of patrol and technologies that can assist them daily (e.g. drones). Some APUs request tactical and medical training, GCF volunteers have provided krav maga and medical training that has since helped save the lives of multiple rangers.
Other APUs request the assistance of animals. GCF has helped provide teams with tracking dogs, and has helped train horses for use on patrol. The use of horses was the idea of one of GCF's local collaborators, and the horses were identified but were not rideable. GCF volunteers worked with the horses to be rideable and teach the APUs how to ride the horses. In less than two months, multiple horses became candidates for mounted patrol and more APUs have requested horses for their teams. The cost to purchase a horse is approximately $500-$700 USD.
Awareness and Education – Wildlife trafficking is a global problem.
Some poachers are subsistence poachers, looking for food to feed their families. GCF has worked with local communities to provide alternatives, including building an aquaponics system.
Other poachers are part of crime syndicates and terrorist organizations, who recruit local people to poach for them. GCF has worked with children who live close to high-poaching areas but who may not have the opportunity to learn about the wildlife around them. GCF has provided solar lanterns for the children to use to do homework after sundown, and created opportunities to learn about the wildlife from APUs.
The United States of America is not immune from wildlife trafficking and is one of the larger consumers of wildlife trafficked products. GCF volunteers have spoken throughout the United States at schools (K-12, college, and graduate programs), zoos, community events, and at government-sponsored events to inform the general public about the poaching and wildlife trafficking crisis, and what each of us can do to help prevent it.
On The Ground Support – GCF is comprised entirely of volunteers, each of whom has a day job. Including GCF’s founder, who spends part of each year volunteering as an APU on patrol. GCF values and respects every volunteer hour and dollar that is donated to combat poaching. Therefore, GCF actively works to optimize every volunteer hour and dollar donated by addressing the poaching crisis in situ – on the ground where poaching is happening – by gaining insight from the people that live and work in the poaching zones and then working with them to meet their unique needs.
In the few years since GCF was founded, GCF has received requests for gear and training from APUs in multiple countries around the world. To learn more about the APUs and communities that GCF has worked with so far, GCF’s flagship species and the challenges they face, and how far a United States dollar can go to help combat poaching, visit GCF’s website at www.globalconservationforce.org.