Bhutan’s national roll out of SMART patrolling
Country formally launches a key zero poaching tool nationally
On June 5, people from across the globe will celebrate the World Environment Day with this year’s theme of Go Wild for Life: Zero tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade.
Recognizing this growing threat of wildlife crime, which is eroding earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing us of our natural heritage and driving species to the brink of extinction, Bhutan has embarked on the national roll out of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrolling - a critical anti-poaching tool.
The introduction of SMART in some of Bhutan’s Protected Areas through World Wildlife Fund (WWF) support had enabled park offices to curb poaching and allocate scarce resources effectively by identifying areas that are most at risks. Hence, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests has recently issued an Executive Order to launch SMART in all the protected areas and territorial divisions.
“We are confident that other countries will follow the similar model and move towards the world free of poaching," said Rohit Singh, Enforcement & Capacity Building Specialist with WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative. “In today's world, empowering frontline staff with right tools and technologies is the key in combating wildlife crime. SMART is a tool that gives an edge to frontline staff in fighting poachers”.
SMART was piloted in Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park in November 2013. Considering its effectiveness in addressing the emerging complexities of managing and monitoring poaching and wildlife crime, the tool is being adopted at a national level. SMART integrates data from ranger patrols, analyzes local poaching trends and measures progress in law enforcement to help rangers improve their effectiveness.
The latest executive order states that “the national roll-out will involve building national core competencies and adoption in all the field offices”.