Ex Ranger in Kruger National Park
With 17 years of experience as both a Chief Ranger and Warden on South African nature reserves and over 40 years in law enforcement, Crispian Barlow is perfectly positioned to understand the day-to-day challenges of the frontline war against poachers.
Crispian was Warden at the Balule (North) Nature Reserve, part of the massive Kruger National Park, in South Africa’s northernmost province of Limpopo from 1998-2007. There he faced high rates of crime and violence with heavily armed poachers regularly breaching the reserve’s perimeter to track and kill elephants and other wildlife at any cost.
Among the more daring attempts Crispian remembers was a poacher using a helicopter to herd elephants out of the protected area to kill them. During his time at the reserve, Crispian was involved in several shooting incidents with poachers, receiving a bullet wound to his leg on one occasion and narrowly missing a bullet that went through his windshield on another.
Before that, Crispian worked in South Africa as a Chief Ranger for the Ibhubesi Wildlife Services from 1990-1998, providing advice on reserve management, training rangers, and going undercover to help journalists film illegal lion hunting for British current affairs programme “The Cook Report”.
It was while serving in the Royal Hong Kong Police from 1978-1990 that Crispian first witnessed the bustling trade of the prominent ivory shops in districts like Wan Chai, leading him to study nature conservation and sowing the seeds for his future work. During his 13 years with the Force, he worked in a variety of units, including Marine Police, the Tactical Unit and the Bomb Disposal Unit.
It is Crispian’s unique perspective that led him to focus on weak law enforcement as the crux of the poaching problem. Since 2008, he has been a technical advisor for WWF, designing ranger training courses, and introducing wildlife law enforcement strategies and standards around the network, particularly in Southeast Asian countries. He also sits on board of the Ranger Federation of Asia and on the training committee of the International Crime Scene Investigators Association.
Aged 59, Crispian was born in Canada.