News Stories (Focused Conservation)

Dr. Mark Ofua: From Childhood Fascination to Wildlife Conservation Hero in Nigeria

In the heart of Nigeria resides a man whose life embodies a modern-day adventure, intricately woven with an unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation. Dr. Mark Ofua’s journey from a curious child captivated by animals to a fervent advocate for Nigeria’s biodiversity is nothing short of extraordinary.

Dr. Ofua’s collaborative partnership with Focused Conservation marked a pivotal chapter in his lifelong dedication to wildlife preservation. With the government’s newfound commitment to conservation, the emergence of Focused Conservation fortified a monumental shift in the landscape in Nigeria, infusing the movement with cutting-edge technology and unwavering dedication to wildlife protection. As a wildlife veterinarian and staunch conservationist, Dr. Ofua found himself at the heart of this transformative collaboration, working hand-in-hand with Focused Conservation to rehabilitate and release animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Their joint efforts extend far beyond mere rescue operations; together, they engage in essential activities such as training, information sharing, and intelligence gathering, fortifying their united front in safeguarding wildlife. Yet, Dr. Ofua recognizes that true sustainability lies in nurturing local expertise and fostering a grassroots movement by investing in local capacity-building initiatives.

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Successful Operation Silver Lakes: Focused Conservation’s Efforts Combat Wildlife Trafficking in South Africa

In a significant law enforcement operation dubbed Operation Silver Lakes, carried out in South Africa, Focused Conservation Investigative Liaison played a pivotal role. The operation led to the arrest of four wildlife traffickers who were attempting to sell a live pangolin to an undercover officer for R170,000. The pangolin, severely dehydrated and near death, was rescued by the team from the clutches of the traffickers. Prompt medical attention was provided, and the pangolin is currently under the care of a wildlife hospital, with hopes of rehabilitation for eventual release back into the wild. This operation underscores Focused Conservation’s commitment to combatting wildlife trafficking and protecting vulnerable species.

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Kenya Wildlife Task Force Foils Trafficking Attempt, Pangolin dies at hands of Traffickers

In Kenya, the Kenya Wildlife Task Force (KWTF) recently made a significant arrest in the Mahoo area of Taita Taveta County. Two traffickers were apprehended during a law enforcement operation as they attempted to sell a live Temminck’s pangolin. Intelligence gathered by the task force led to an attempted rescue of the pangolin, although tragically, the animal died the night before the arrests were made. An autopsy conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Service revealed that the pangolin had died from suffocation. This investigation has been dubbed Operation Roller.

Both suspects have been arrested and charged with violating provisions of the Wildlife and Conservation Management Act of Kenya. The Temminck’s pangolin is a species entirely terrestrial and commonly found in savannah and woodland habitats. Remarkably, this marks the seventh seizure of pangolin scales and a live pangolin made by the KWTF in the Taita area.

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UWCU’s Operation Bungonia Thwarts Pangolin Trafficking in Uganda

In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU) recently executed Operation Bungonia, a highly successful law enforcement initiative targeting wildlife traffickers. The operation centered on intercepting the trafficking of a live pangolin and pangolin skin, a testament to the ongoing efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade.

Three wildlife traffickers were apprehended during the operation. They had traveled to Moroto in northeast Uganda, where they met with UWCU investigators posing as potential buyers. The live pangolin, concealed in a metal box on the back of a motorcycle, was intercepted before it could be traded illegally.

Despite being dehydrated and sustaining minor injuries, the Ground pangolin received prompt medical attention from UWA rangers and was eventually released back into its natural habitat. This swift action by the wildlife crime unit not only saved the pangolin’s life but also prevented another protected species from falling victim to illegal trafficking.

Operation Bungonia underscores the dedication of UWCU and its partners in safeguarding Uganda’s wildlife heritage. Such proactive enforcement efforts are crucial in combating the illicit wildlife trade and ensuring the conservation of endangered species.

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Operation Chewton: Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit Leads Arrest of Elephant Ivory Trafficker

In a commendable effort led by the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU), Operation Chewton achieved a significant breakthrough in the fight against wildlife trafficking. Acting on intelligence, the multi-agency team, comprising members from the UWCU, Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Uganda Police Force, swiftly responded to the identified ivory trafficker in Kyambogo, near Kampala. Through coordinated efforts, the team successfully apprehended the suspect and seized a total of 24.1 kilograms of elephant ivory intended for illegal sale. This operation underscores the unwavering commitment of Uganda’s law enforcement agencies to combat wildlife crime and protect endangered species.

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Focused Conservation Joins Kenya Wildlife Service in Celebrating World Wildlife Day

In honor of World Wildlife Day, Focused Conservation had the privilege of participating in a special event hosted by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) at Nairobi National Park. The event brought together various partners and stakeholders dedicated to safeguarding Kenya’s rich wildlife heritage.

During the celebration, presentations were delivered by Embakasi School and the Young Muslim Association, showcasing innovative methods to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. These included the use of lion lights and drones, demonstrating a proactive approach to conservation challenges.

Highlighting the cultural significance of the occasion, children from Embakasi School captivated the audience with a Swahili song celebrating the hyena, adding a touch of local flair to the festivities.

Salim Ahmed Umar, serving as the honorary warden, shared insightful remarks with attendees, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in wildlife conservation.

Focused Conservation reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to supporting wildlife protection initiatives worldwide. As part of this dedication, the organization continues to collaborate with partners like the Kenya Wildlife Service to ensure the preservation of biodiversity for future generations.

World Wildlife Day serves as a reminder of the importance of collective action in safeguarding our planet’s precious wildlife. Focused Conservation remains steadfast in its mission to protect and preserve the world’s natural treasures.

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Strengthening Our Team: Focused Conservation Welcomes Law Enforcement Expert Phill Jones

We’re thrilled to announce the latest addition to our team at Focused Conservation: Phill Jones joins us as the new Technical Advisor to the wildlife crime unit in Nigeria!

Phill brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role, with a distinguished career in law enforcement focused on investigating Serious Organised Crime and Asset Recovery, both in the UK and overseas. His extensive background includes work with esteemed organizations such as the Royal Navy, West Mercia Police, and the National Crime Squad (now National Crime Agency), where he spearheaded intelligence-led investigations into serious organized crime groups.

But Phill’s contributions don’t stop there! He’s also made significant strides in capacity building and knowledge sharing in anti-corruption efforts, leaving an indelible mark on countries like Tanzania and South Africa through his training and mentoring of law enforcement agencies.

As the newest member of our team, Phill steps into the role of Technical Advisor to the Nigeria Special Wildlife Office (NSWO), where he’ll play a pivotal role in combating wildlife crime and dismantling trafficking networks operating within the country. His expertise will be instrumental in advancing our mission to protect endangered species and preserve biodiversity not just in Nigeria, but across borders.

The establishment of the NSWO in 2022 by Focused Conservation in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service underscores our unwavering commitment to combating wildlife trafficking in Nigeria. By working hand-in-hand with local authorities, we aim to enhance their capacity and expertise to tackle this illicit trade head-on.

With decades of experience in international law enforcement, our highly skilled team at Focused Conservation is poised to offer invaluable guidance and assistance to units like the NSWO. Together, we’re driving impactful actions against wildlife crime, strengthening local authorities, and making significant strides in the fight to protect our planet’s precious wildlife.

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Strengthening Collaborative Efforts to Combat Wildlife Trafficking in Liberia

In a significant stride towards protecting Liberia’s wildlife, Technical Advisor Danny Murphy recently took part in a pivotal 2-day event organized by the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL). The event served as a platform to showcase the impactful work undertaken by Focused Conservation and the Liberia Special Wildlife Investigations Unit (SWIU). By presenting to a diverse audience including NGOs and law enforcement partners, the session fostered crucial dialogue aimed at bolstering cooperation to tackle illegal wildlife trafficking in Liberia.

Since its inception in May 2023, the Liberia Special Wildlife Investigation Unit (SWIU) has emerged as a formidable force in combating wildlife crime in the region. The team’s efforts have yielded remarkable outcomes, with numerous endangered and protected species, including chimpanzees, slender-snouted and dwarf crocodiles, lesser-spot nosed monkeys, sooty mangabees, pangolins, and African grey parrots, being seized as part of successful operations. The collaborative workshop not only highlighted these achievements but also laid the groundwork for enhanced collaboration, promising even greater success in safeguarding Liberia’s wildlife.

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Focused Conservation and Kenya DCI Forge Ahead in Wildlife Crime Combat: Strengthening Partnership

In a bid to intensify the battle against wildlife crime in Kenya, a delegation from Focused Conservation, led by CEO Wim Brown, recently convened with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) at their headquarters in Nairobi. The meeting, which included Director of Investigations Eric Stouch and DCI Director Mohamed I. Amin, underscored the unwavering commitment

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Kenya Wildlife Task Force Cracks Down on Elephant Ivory Traffickers in Operation Buzzard

In a significant move against wildlife trafficking, the Kenya Wildlife Task Force (KWTF) launched Operation Buzzard, resulting in the apprehension of three individuals involved in the illegal sale of elephant ivory. This operation marks the first collaborative effort since the recent integration of a Kenya Wildlife Service officer into the KWTF.

The arrested individuals were found in possession of a pair of single tusks weighing a total of 27 kgs, suspected to have been sourced from at least two different elephants. They now face charges under Section 92(2) of the Wildlife and Conservation Management Act, highlighting the ongoing commitment to combatting wildlife crime in Kenya.

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