Tiger Poachers and Criminal Syndicate Brought to Justice by Digital Evidence
The most immediate danger to the survival of wild tigers today is poaching driven by sport and market demand. Traditional Asian medicines call for Tiger as an ingredient and their pelts are considered a status symbol for the Asian elite. Pelts sell for as much as $20,000 making the poaching of tigers an attractive source of income for organized crime.
The Illegal Hunt
The methods used to hunt and kill tigers demonstrate cruelty beyond any recognized standard practiced in the legal hunting of animals. Steel traps are laid down on known tiger trails catching and exhausting tigers after their futile attempts to free themselves.
The fatigued tigers are then executed by blows to their head with a large stick or pipe. Other poaching tactics include poisoning carcasses of a tiger’s typical prey or poisoning shallow pools of water that tigers seek out during the hot season.
The Good Fight
In a recent case, two poachers were successfully arrested after their hired driver spotted a suspicious bag in their possession. He reported them to the police who later discovered a fresh tiger skeleton in the package. The suspect’s smartphones were confiscated in hopes of finding evidence to incriminate others and stop the illegal operation.
Freeland, an organization committed to stopping both wildlife trafficking and human slavery, was called to help with the analysis of the digital evidence. Cellebrite is proud to be a part of the ongoing countermeasures to combat the threats against the tiger population.
During wildlife crime investigations, local police regularly consult Freeland, which has become vital to the protection of animals vulnerable to poaching and trafficking. In the above case, using Cellebrite’s Digital Intelligence Platform, Freeland discovered that the initiators of the illegal hunt originated from Vietnam.
It surfaced that they had crossed from Laos into Thailand in order to sponsor targeted hunting inside the forests of Thailand and Malaysia, and possibly Myanmar. The poachers documented their trips on their smartphones, including tiger kills.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Freeland and the local police the gang was removed as a threat.
This was accomplished over the span of three months where digital data served to expose the operations and key players involved, from the arrest of two men to an international criminal organization which has led to an unknown number of tigers saved.
This is the power of digital data to an investigation.
The threat to tigers never ends, however, as organized crime perpetually searches for new opportunities to exploit. Innovations in technology often open the door for more nefarious use, but Cellebrite develops technology that helps organizations like Freeland and Law Enforcement stay one step ahead of the criminal element.
Gangs that try to expand their operations using the power and ease of use of smartphones, also leave a trail of digital evidence that can bring them to justice. The digital footprint left by the two poachers not only led to their arrest for the possession of a single tiger corpse but the removal of the threat of an entire gang to the tiger population of Laos. Cellebrite is proud of our small contribution to this effort.
Cellebrite is the leader in digital intelligence solutions and through our Digital Intelligence Platform, provides unmatched access to digital devices and sources to extract critical data needed for investigations.
Access to the digital data is only the first part of the challenge, as large volumes of data cannot be reviewed manually, Cellebrite provides digital intelligence solutions to pinpoint critical pieces of information. The surfacing of digital insights creates actionable data that accelerates the time to evidence and helps resolves investigations. Cellebrite enables the effective use of digital data to help make this a safer world.