This week the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network, USAID and Freeland launched WildScan, a new mobile application that identifies endangered species. It is designed to help law enforcement officials combat wildlife trafficking, an illicit trade estimated at $19 billion per year and run by organized criminal syndicates.

WildScan contains photos and important information for more than 280 endangered species and illegal wildlife products commonly trafficked into and throughout Southeast Asia. The app is meant to help properly identify the animals and create a rapid response to rescue them. "The U.S. Government is strongly committed to working with partners in the region to address this serious and growing problem, and smart and creative use of technology, like WildScan, will contribute much to these efforts," said U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney. "The application makes it possible for all of us to report wildlife trafficking and do our part to support ongoing law enforcement efforts to counter this illegal trade.”

WildScan was produced through a collaborative partnership between academics, law enforcement, scientists and other wildlife specialists. Developed under the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program and implemented by Freeland, the application allows users to input information such as the color and size of the animal to quickly identify the species. It also includes essential animal care instructions and a simple reporting function. The ARREST Program will work closely with all stakeholders to improve the app going forward and WildScan will be integrated into all future trainings for law enforcement. 

Download the app here.

Read more about the launch event here.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update