Conducting patrols and related law enforcement activities is essential but it is addressing a symptom and not the root causes of why most of these people are poaching. Similarly, focusing on operations to defeat poaching groups within the protected areas alone is also a reactive, not a proactive, strategy. The strategy used by the Ruvuma Elephant Project has included various approaches and activities - beyond the scope of conventional anti-poaching units or programmes - to which most of the success achieved thus far is primarily attributed. These include a strong focus on: working with communities to achieve their reciprocal support and participation; joint patrols and operations; and intelligence-led operations within and extensively outside the protected areas (Lotter and Clark 2014).
The judiciary system and the people who run it should be the allies of conservation, whereas in reality there are many cases where even magistrates and prosecutors are not on the side of conservation. In the case of the REP, most of the worst offenders were repeat offenders. However, this trend is changing since these aspects were better addressed by the project and some poachers who were previously freed shortly after being arrested, have been properly convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 years to 10 years (Lotter and Clark 2014).
Another important ingredient needed for ensuring success in anti-poaching at the protected area level is to involve more than one agency in the law enforcement effort. It is far easier for criminal syndicate leaders to be able to understand, predict and in many cases influence and corrupt, single agencies and systems working within well known reporting structures than it is to do so when there is more of a multi-agency approach. It is prudent that not only one agency should be tasked, empowered and incentivized to deal with the problem of commercial poaching and its associated crimes, and equally important that the approach employed should include the implementation of routine as well as unanticipated cross-checks. A measure of unpredictability needs to be a part of the modus operandi at all times to keep the enemy guessing. Establishing ad hoc task forces reporting only to the highest authority in each country and comprised of a selection of the best officers coming from all the agencies (national parks, police, security, customs, army, etc.) is a practical way to accomplish this (Lotter and Clark 2014).