Balkandetox Life Project strengthens Albanian institutional capacities on the investigation of wildlife crimes

Circa 40 representatives from key state institutions were trained on wildlife crime investigation

On 29th and 30th of January 2024, a comprehensive national training session on the investigation of wildlife crimes was conducted in Albania for key state institutions, including the National Inspectorate for the Protection of the Territory, State Police, National Agency for Protected Areas, and National Agency of Veterinary and Protection of Plants. The training also saw active participation from other stakeholders, such as conservation NGOs, prosecutors, and lawyers.

This training was organized by the Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) as part of the BalkanDetox LIFE project, aligning with the project’s objective to strengthen institutional capacities in fighting wildlife crimes and poisoning in particular.

Approximately 40 participants in the training were introduced to the best practices of the Spanish experience in wildlife crime investigation. The comprehensive coverage spanned all aspects of this subject, encompassing everything from the initial crime scene investigation to the concluding legal proceedings in court. Moreover, distinct sessions were conducted on legislation, chain of custody, and jurisdiction pertaining to wildlife crime investigations. These sessions played a crucial role in identifying ambiguities and gaps within the legislation while also providing clarity on the respective roles of state institutions involved in wildlife crime investigations. Participants were given the opportunity to apply their newly gained knowledge in an improvised crime scene scenario.

Albania is a country where the significance of environmental crimes has only recently gained attention, with wildlife crimes still being overlooked and considered of minimal priority. In this context, the implementation of a project addressing wildlife crimes, like the BalkanDetox LIFE project, proves to be challenging.

Meanwhile, every accomplishment within this initiative, such as the organization of a national training session on wildlife crime investigation, should be regarded as a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to combat wildlife crimes in the country.