Written by Meagan Eddy – Training and Small Grants Assistant

Have you ever spent a work day solving crime with giraffes and a princess?

That is the day our Green Skills learners enjoyed at the Wildlife Forensic Academy, in Buffelsfontein Game and Nature Reserve.

Upon arrival at Buffelsfontein, we were met with a tower of giraffes, which was a first time experience for most of our learners. Within Buffelsontein Game and Nature Reserve is the Wildlife Forensic Academy, a unique forensics academy established to fight the wildlife poaching crisis. A crucial element in combating poaching, is accurately documenting the crime scene. Too often, wildlife crime scenes are contaminated and evidence unknowingly destroyed before forensic teams arrive. Our learners got the opportunity to interact with life-like staged wildlife crime scenes at the Wildlife Forensic Academy, where they gain greater awareness about what could be valuable evidence, and how to preserve such evidence for environmental justice.

This learning experience was voluntarily conducted by graduates of the Wildlife Forensic Academy, before returning to their Forensic Studies in the Netherlands. Their passion and knowledge inspired our learners, who marvelled at how much care and effort goes into preserving and documenting a crime scene.

Also joining us in the experience, particularly on the rhino-team, was Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands. Princess Laurentien is an author, the president of international NGO Fauna and Flora International, and according to our learners, she also has a keen eye for spotting hidden evidence.

All in all, our learners reportedly enjoyed their time spent with a humble princess and getting to experience the work of a detective, but with apologies to Princess Laurentien, the giraffes were the highlight!