WFA and Sensing Clues

Data driven nature conservation / wildlife protection

Effective anti-poaching operations rely heavily on ranger patrols. Nature conservation areas, however, are very big and boots on the ground comparatively scarce. The question is, how can we help the rangers to outwit the poachers?

One of the answers is to make better use of data. Even in the remotest of remote nature conservation areas, gigabytes of data are being generated by rangers, animal trackers, wildlife cameras, aerial surveys, and satellites. This happens at ever increasing volumes, varieties and velocities. 

During the Data Science for Nature Conservation training courses, a joint venture of the Wildlife Forensic Academy and Sensing Clues, you’ll learn how to use diverse data sources to better understand the dynamics of the terrain and how poachers are using it. The latter is called forensic intelligence. Signs of criminal activities, combined with knowledge about their modus operandi, are used to create predictions. These can be used to anticipate wildlife crimes and thus give rangers the edge. By showing up at the right time at the right place with the right team, poachers are not only disrupted and caught red-handed, but deterred as the chance of getting caught becomes too high. 

Forensic intelligence is also a powerful way to link forensic evidence from one wildlife crime scene to another. Links, time-spatial patterns and trends are used to point criminal investigators into the right direction, thus narrowing down the window of opportunity and closing the net around poachers. 


The data science for nature conservation course is organised by the Wildlife Forensic Academy and Sensing Clues Academy. The course is highly hands-on. You can work on rich datasets provided by the trainers, or work on your own data. The maximum number of participants per course is 15.

Participants should have MSc-level or about to complete their MSc studies. Basic knowledge of statistics is a pre, as is experience with Python or R-Studio. 

The training course spans 10 days and comes with an 8 hour personal online support. The first 3 days are online and used to introduce you to a number of core methods and technologies. The core of the training is given at the Wildlife Forensic Academy in South Africa. Classroom sessions are alternated with CSI-field exercises and excursions. After the training is completed you can ask for hands-on support while working on your own anti-poaching strategies. 

First course scheduled from 20 February 2022 to 5 March 2022


  • Hugo, MSc, Data Scientist and Lead Trainer
  • Koen, PhD, MSc, Ecologist and Data Scientist
  • Madelon, MSc, Criminologist
  • Rutger, PhD, MSc. Big Data Analytics and Intelligence
  • Judith, MSc, Business Analyst and Allround trainer
  • Jan Kees, PhD, MSc. Law enforcement, IT and Natural Resources Management