Nigeria Special Wildlife Office

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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Operation Red Tide: Multi-Agency Team Successfully Rescues Live Manatee from Wildlife Traffickers

In a groundbreaking operation named Operation Red Tide, a collaborative effort by a multi-agency law enforcement team, including officers from the Nigeria Special Wildlife Office, Nigeria Customs, Special Investigations Squad, Customs Police, and the Western Marine Command, led to the successful seizure of a live juvenile African manatee. The operation, fueled by intelligence from Focused Conservation Technical Advisors, targeted a wildlife trafficking group operating with impunity in Ikorodu, Nigeria, and across multiple African and Middle Eastern countries. The intricacies of the mission, involving the rescue of the endangered marine mammal, required meticulous planning to safely remove it from a private premises where it was being offered for sale in a concrete tank.

Named after the challenges it overcame, Operation Red Tide not only resulted in the arrest of the seller but also marked a historic milestone in wildlife law enforcement. The juvenile manatee, a species vulnerable to the illegal wildlife trade, faced a complex journey to safety. A local specialized veterinarian, with previous experience in collaboration with Focused Conservation, ensured the animal’s well-being during the operation. The manatee was carefully transported by vehicle to a nearby dock, where the NCS Boat Crew from the Western Marine Command skillfully ferried it across the lagoon to another dock. From there, the animal was lifted into another vehicle and transported to a park, where it will receive the care it needs. This unprecedented live manatee seizure underscores the dedication of law enforcement in tackling wildlife trafficking and protecting endangered species.

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Three Bush Babies Rescued in Nigeria

The Nigeria Special Wildlife Office (NSWO), along with Customs Intelligence Unit and Customs Police, participated in an operation at a market in Kaduna, Nigeria. The officers observed a subject attempting to sell 3 live bush babies, an endangered species in NIgeria. The subject avoided arrest and escaped the market, however the 3 bush babies were rescued and are currently being cared for before being released back into the wild. The bush baby are protected under the Endangered Species Act in Nigeria as Schedule II species.

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