Intelligence Operations

Our first priority is to prevent wildlife crime, contribute to the protection of wildlife, and provide a roam-free space for animals at Niassa Wilderness. Other top priorities include:

  • Increasing and diversifying our informer network, ensuring women play an active role in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade
  • Isolate intelligence operations and separate them out from anti-poaching and other activities
  • Build and equip an intelligence & operations centre, located alongside one of our key airstrips

Scout Training

Our Scouts have an increasingly difficult job. They risk their lives everyday to protect their heritage and our world’s precious wildlife. They choose a righteous path over participation in the illegal wildlife trade. For context, keep in mind that four kilograms of ivory would yield the equivalent of one years salary in Mozambique.

We currently employ 75 Permanent Scouts (including Head Scout and 3 Deputies) with 28% enjoying a 16-year history with Niassa Wilderness. Each scout covers approximately 22000 hectares. We are still understaffed, and plan to increase our team to 100 formally trained and qualified scouts. Our scout team is almost all from the surrounding Mozambican villages.

A key and strategic intervention in 2017 is the establishment of a permanent scout training facility alongside our Lusinge Camp and airstrip. Together with a Mozambican authorized strategic training partner, we aim to ensure the embedding of learning is fully achieved. This facility will also be available to our alliance partners and the Niassa Reserve as a whole.

Scout Operations

We have to continually secure and safeguard our high-risk parameters to illegal poachers. This will require more water, air, and land support:

  • Upgrade the infrastructure of all ten permanent scout bases
  • Add airstrips at 2 more scout bases, bringing this to 5 in total
  • Upgrade 700km of our road network for quicker access
  • Overhaul our vehicle fleet to include: 5 anti-poaching vehicles, 6 motor bikes
  • Create a reaction unit, as a special operations and independent force
  • Train and equip a river patrol team, to provide an important presence along 275km of the Lugenda River basin, that lies within our area

Build permanent scout training facility at Lusinge Camp with sleeping barracks, kitchens, classrooms, obstacle course, and firing range.


Our current infrastructure and operations at-a-glance:

  • Extensive road network (1,200km) [Additional 700 km to be added]
  • 4 permanent and 2 seasonal camps
  • 6 air strips (including 1 registered) and 3 scout bases air strips [additional 2 to be added]
  • Operations and logistics base in Pemba
  • 10 scout bases
  • 10 vehicles (including 3 tractors and 2 trucks)
  • 1 Bat Hawk aircraft and hanger [additional aircraft added by 2018]


Niassa Wilderness is currently seeking technology partners for in-kind procurement and maintenance of hardware and software systems, to tackle wildlife crime on our one-million acre operating area. Some of our essential technology needs include but is not limited to:

  • On-patrol communications
  • On-patrol smartphones
  • On-patrol laptops or tablets
  • On-patrol solar-powered battery or portable charger
  • Heightened security
  • Offline mesh networking
  • Simulation training
  • Species data collection
  • Crime prevention
  • Wildlife tagging
  • Observation surveillance
  • Data collection, monitoring, and analysis
  • Animal DNA analysis
  • Geospatial mapping
  • Crime prosecution
  • Reporting tools for alliances and partners

Here is a sample of the deployed systems currently being used by our scouts:

  • The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) open source, non-proprietary, and freely available software application enables us to collect, store, communicate, and evaluate ranger-based data on patrol efforts, results, and threat levels
  • Free Elephant Count application created by Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Inc., automates the data collection process for frequent elephant counts, across the vast area of the Niassa Reserve, in prevention of potential catastrophic poaching attempts
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