Protecting Our Planet by Saving Animals From Smuggling and Poaching

International poaching and smuggling crimes may seem distant to people who live in California, but the consequences of these illegal […more…]

Center for Environmental Forensic Science

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Mobile: (206) 853-4730
Office: (206) 543-1669
Executive Director: Roberto Dondisch
Scientific Director: Samuel K Wasser


The Center for Environmental Forensic Science (CEFS) is a novel collaboration between diverse scientists, state, federal and international government agencies, and multiple NGOs working to discover, disrupt and dismantle operations of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) engaged in illegal environmental endeavors in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

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Wildlife crime is rapidly becoming one of the most insidious and profound influences on the world’s natural capital this century, but it takes more than guns and boots on the ground. Without science and the data that CEFS provides, too many loopholes exist. The work that CEFS does closes those loopholes and brings criminals to justice. Working with governments around the world makes it effective and that is why we have supported this work via the National Geographic and through Project Ranger. You should too.
Dereck Joubert, National Geographic Explorer at Large

Joining Forces to Outsmart Poachers and Save the Planet

The crown jewel in the Center for Environmental Forensic Science’s arsenal is their ability to support law enforcement efforts with free-of-charge genetic analysis of large seizures of environmental contraband. The results map poaching hotspots, determine how criminal organizations smuggle poached items, and directly tie seizures to international kingpins.  

CEFS relies on private donations to offer their services at no cost. However, CEFS is now receiving more seizures than ever and costs per seizure have increased by over 25% in the last 18 months. A single seizure, weighing 0.5 to 10 metric tons, costs an average of $60,000 to analyze.

CEFS also needs funds to scale their operation and assure long-term sustainability. The enormous volume of transnational environmental crimes, and the speed with which traffickers adapt, require that seizures be analyzed as rapidly as possible with tools that evolve to traffickers’ ever-changing strategies.

CEFS is raising $2 million to support multiple seizures a year, invest in research and development, and provide capacity building to developing countries on a global scale. 

However, having the funds needed to genetically test seizures is the single most important donation one can give as it allows CEFS to immediately get to work tracking down the smugglers.

Key Supporters

World Bank
Global Environment Fund
Elephant Crisis Fund
Wildlife Conservation Network
Maritz Family Foundation
Greg Moga
PG Allen Family Foundation
International Fund
for Animal Welfare
Wood Tiger Fund
DHS Center of Excellence,
Texas A&M University
Homeland Security Investigation
Dereck and Beverly Jobert
Art Wolfe
Wildcat Foundation
Arthur Johnson Fund
Dawkins Charitable Trust
WA State Legislature
UN Office on Drugs and Crime
Elizabeth Welch
Jim and Catherine Alchin
Craig McCaw
Leonard X. Bosack and Bette M.
Kruger Charitable Foundation
US Dept of State-INL
Mohamed Zaid Fund
Gordon and Betty Moore
National Fish and Wildlife
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service-International
Elephant Protection Initiative
National Geographic Society