Dear SWFS Members
Welcome to the January 2019 edition of SWFS News.
As another year gets going we can look back on a lot of activity among SWFS partners during the past six months, as well as look forward to a busy 2019.
Highlights for me have been two large regional wildlife forensic network meetings. The first was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September 2018, where representatives from 10 countries came together for the East and Southeast Asian Wildlife Forensics Network Meeting. You can read more about this on page 4; special thanks to the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks for hosting the event. Rest assured that any rumours of presidential karaoke singing abilities are grossly exaggerated – descriptions of suffering the morning after less so!
At the end of November it was the turn of the African Wildlife Forensics Network to get together on Pretoria, South Africa, hosted by Antoinette Kotze’s team in the National Zoological Garden. We enjoyed a fantastic get together of representatives from across the continent discussing the development of wildlife forensic science. For more details see the report on page 11.
Global efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade are increasingly turning towards the forensic science community to play a role in supporting law enforcement, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia. Significant funding from the US, UK and EU has seen projects starting in 2018 that are set to spread the development of wildlife forensic capacity and directly support investigations over the coming years.
The next major Society event on the horizon is Denver 2019 (see page 3), which is shaping up to be another great meeting. The website is live, registration is open and submissions are being received, so don’t hesitate in getting abstracts and applications in!
At this meeting the Society will go through its first significant board turnover, in line with the new policy of fixed term board appointments. We will be looking for an additional three board members to start in June, so please consider applying and look out for more information soon about how to put your name forward.
Lastly, this will be my final SWFS News message as President of the Society, so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who have volunteered their time to help establish SWFS News over the past three years, from editors to contributors. I hope you as readers have enjoyed hearing about what’s been going on in the world of wildlife forensics. I firmly believe that the more we communicate, the stronger our community becomes, so I look forward to reading SWFS News for many years to come.
Best wishes to all,