White Rhino Team

Project Partners

United for Wildlife, Naomi Doak

Board Advisor

Julie Scardina and Laura Gruber


The EWCL White Rhino Group, in partnership with United for Wildlife, created a report titled Wildlife Trafficking Detection Tools: Best Practices and Application to the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade to provide a deep analysis of tools and best practices to support successful detection of contraband, with a focus on rhino horn products. The report’s primary goal is to support governments, the private sector, and the larger enforcement community in selecting the best-suited tools based on needs and financial and technical resources. A secondary goal is to foster collaboration and information-sharing to build capacity, improve detection efforts, and facilitate criminal prosecutions. Such collaborations may lead to support from governments or private/NGO stakeholders, but may also inspire parties to share knowledge, expertise, best practices, and technology. 

This report aims to pull together current detection tool information from multiple sources by providing an overview of publicly-available information and analyses with additional input from experts and stakeholders actively using these tools. Extensive research and stakeholder interviews were conducted to create the report. 

The team also conducted a series of virtual workshops in fall 2020 to bring together experts and stakeholders working on counter-wildlife trafficking efforts.


White Rhino



    The project team developed a comprehensive report inventorying existing tools, smuggling trends and detection methods, and current systems available for sharing enforcement information. This effort included researching relevant literature and interviewing governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. Main topics in the report include:

    • Challenges to detecting rhino horn trafficking;
    • Analysis of major detection tools (sniffer dogs, scanning equipment, apps, artificial intelligence, information-sharing tools, and personnel-based tools such as training programs and risk-management);
    • Considerations and recommendations for adoption for each tool;
    • Matrix comparing tools from the user point-of-view.

    Conservation International will host the report on its website. The report was shared directly with over 500 contacts, indirectly by recipients sharing within their networks, and on social media channels hosted by various partners and supporters.  

    United for Wildlife shared the report to 150+ members of their Transport Task Force, the World Customs Organization (WCO) shared the report to all 183 WCO member states on its ENVIRONET information-sharing platform, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) shared it with countries participating in their training programs, and the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) program committed to sharing with their partners. 

    Stakeholder workshops:

    During the fall of 2020, the team hosted three virtual stakeholder workshops, bringing together experts and detection tool users from all over the world to learn from one another and discuss challenges and opportunities within their field. The workshop format included a series of presentations, panel discussions and break-out room conversations with question prompts. 

    Topics and speakers included:


    • Frances Craigie, Chief Director of Enforcement, South Africa Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE)
    • Jenna Dawson-Faber, Programme Manager for the Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)  
    • Jon Godson, Assistant Director: Aviation Environment Environmental Best Practice,  International Air Transport Association


    • Hugo Taljaard, Senior Manager, South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs Border Operations National Rapid Response Team
    • Ken Mann, Vice President of Global Regulatory and Government Affairs, Rapiscan Systems
    • Alma Cardenas, Global Program Manager, Microsoft AI for Earth initiative
    • Dan Haines, Head of Engineering for Heathrow Baggage Operations, London Heathrow Airport


    • Heidi Kretser, Conservation Social Scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society Global Conservation Programs
    • Jacques du Toit, Environmental Management Inspector and Deputy Director, South African National Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE)
    • Bruce Kindle, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
    • Tim Wittig, Head of Intelligence, United for Wildlife

    Sessions also included remarks and excellent facilitation by project partners Rob Campbell from United for Wildlife and Naomi Doak, who originally saw the need for this project and introduced it to the team.

    Approximately 85people joined one or more of the workshops from all over the world, including the United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, European Union, and several African countries. Participants were from a breadth of sectors - business, government, non-profit and international conservation organizations were all represented. 

    A post-workshop survey was sent to participants and while the response samples are not representative, it gives a sense of how the workshops were received. Generally, participants responded that the workshops were very informative and well-organized, and speakers’ presentations were clear and to the point. Many stated that their level of knowledge/understanding of the topic improved after participating. 

    Suggested areas of improvement were also positive. Most felt the break-out conversations should have been longer, which may show the need for more informal communication between participants.


    Wildlife Trafficking Detection Tools: Best Practices and Application to the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade


    Many stakeholders and partners made this project possible by contributing to the report and participating in the workshops. Major partners and supporters include United for Wildlife, SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and Conservation International. Please refer to the report and workshops for contributors and partners.

    • Funds earned (either money or estimated value of in-kind services)
      • Received grant from SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
      • Generous in-kind contributions from Conservation International for report design and hosting report on CI website