In a groundbreaking operation on January 21, 2024, the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit unveiled Operation Babinda, culminating in the apprehension of a wildlife trafficker attempting to sell six pieces of elephant tusks. Ingeniously concealed within a shipment of bananas, the illicit cargo weighed 78 kilograms. The swift and strategic action of the dedicated team operating in Western Uganda resulted in the successful seizure of the ivory, thwarting the illegal trade and reinforcing the unit’s commitment to wildlife protection. This achievement stands as a testament to the relentless efforts of the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit in combatting the illegal wildlife trade.
News Stories (Focused Conservation)
In a powerful collaboration with the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Special Wildlife Investigation Unit (SWIU) in Liberia coordinated Operation RED, achieving remarkable success. The operation resulted in the arrest of multiple individuals involved in wildlife trafficking and the successful rescue of a live baby chimpanzee in Liberia. Commencing with the initial arrest and seizure near Monrovia, the SWIU team, alongside their dedicated partners, pursued the investigation, leading to the capture of a second wildlife trafficker who had unlawfully possessed the chimpanzee. The Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP) organization stepped in, ensuring the safe transportation and well-being of the rescued baby chimpanzee at the culmination of this impactful operation. SWIU’s dedication to combating wildlife crime shines through in this significant triumph.
The Special Wildlife Investigative Unit (SWIU) in Monrovia, Liberia, continues to make strides in combatting illegal wildlife trade. In a recent successful operation called Operation Papaya, SWIU acted as undercover buyers to apprehend a wildlife trafficker attempting to sell live endangered dwarf crocodiles. With support from NGO’s and law enforcement partners, the operation resulted in the arrest of the trafficker and the seizure of two live crocodiles. Currently under the watchful care of a local wildlife sanctuary, these crocodiles are receiving the necessary attention to rehabilitate them. The ultimate goal is to release them back into their natural habitat, underscoring the importance of dedicated efforts to preserve and protect endangered species.
In a decisive move against wildlife trafficking, the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU) executed Operation Ventnor, focusing on the illicit trade of hippo teeth. Operating near the Queen Elizabeth National Park, officers engaged with a trafficker in Rwimi, uncovering a disturbing attempt to sell hippo teeth. In a multi-agency collaboration, the operation unfolded as one trafficker brought forth a sack containing a 72 pieces of hippo teeth. The male subject was promptly arrested, marking a crucial intervention in the illegal wildlife trade, and subsequently transported to Kampala to face charges in the Special Wildlife Crime Court.
Operation Ventnor not only reflects the UWCU’s unwavering commitment to combat wildlife crime but also sheds light on the persistent challenges faced in protecting vulnerable species. The trafficking of hippo teeth poses a severe threat to these majestic creatures, and the successful apprehension of the trafficker underscores the significance of proactive law enforcement efforts. As the UWCU continues to take decisive actions against wildlife trafficking, Operation Ventnor stands as a testament to the dedication and vigilance required to safeguard Uganda’s diverse and endangered wildlife.
In a resolute move, the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU) spearheaded an operation resulting in the apprehension of four individuals attempting to sell two elephant tusks, totaling 10 kg. Acting on intelligence, UWCU officers swiftly intervened in response to reports of traffickers near Kasese Town, who had purportedly trapped and killed a young elephant near the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. The group was brazenly offering the tusks for sale, prompting a strategic response from law enforcement. After negotiations, the UWCU officers successfully arrested three females and one male subject, who had supplied the two tusks. This operation serves as a powerful testament to the unwavering determination of Focused Conservation and the UWCU in their shared commitment to protect the wildlife of Uganda from the clutches of illegal trade.
The successful operation not only underscores the efficacy of intelligence-led conservation efforts but also highlights the persistent threat posed by wildlife traffickers. The UWCU’s swift and decisive action in apprehending those involved not only safeguards the region’s biodiversity but sends a clear message that attempts to exploit Uganda’s natural treasures will be met with formidable resistance. This resounding success reaffirms the collective dedication of Focused Conservation and the UWCU in their mission to preserve the country’s diverse and invaluable wildlife.
In a major breakthrough for wildlife conservation, the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU) spearheaded a significant multi-agency law enforcement operation that successfully culminated in the seizure of a white rhino horn weighing approximately 1.25 kilograms in Kampala. The operation not only resulted in the confiscation of the illicit horn but also led to the apprehension of three traffickers who had conspired to sell the rhino horn to the UWCU team. Among those arrested were two South Sudanese males and one Ugandan female. Investigations indicated that the rhino horn had been smuggled into Uganda from South Sudan, highlighting the cross-border nature of the illegal wildlife trade.
This operation, aptly named Operation Adelong, underscores the tireless efforts of the UWCU and its multi-agency partners in combating wildlife crimes. The arrest of individuals involved in the trafficking of a white rhino horn sends a clear message that illegal activities threatening endangered species will not be tolerated. The collaborative approach showcased in this operation reflects the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect Uganda’s rich biodiversity and preserve the iconic white rhino population.
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.
In a determined effort to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU) orchestrated Operation Freshwater, a multi-agency law enforcement initiative that led to the apprehension of three suspects attempting to sell elephant ivory. The operation reached its climax in Kanungu, where the UWCU team, after engaging in negotiations with the traffickers, successfully intercepted the illegal sale of elephant ivory, transported to the scene by motorcycle. However, the significance of this operation extends beyond the arrests, as one of the detainees includes a government official, shedding light on the troubling involvement of individuals in positions of authority in the illicit wildlife trade.
The aftermath of the arrests took an unexpected turn as the UWCU team faced threats, necessitating their secure relocation to a protected location. This unsettling development underscores the challenges faced by those on the front lines of wildlife conservation, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to address corruption within the illegal wildlife trade in Uganda.
In a continuing effort to combat illegal wildlife activities, the Kenya Wildlife Task Force (KWTF) has once again demonstrated its effectiveness in a successful law enforcement operation targeting the illegal trade in sandalwood. A vigilant team of officers, part of a dynamic multi-agency collaboration, intercepted a vehicle transporting approximately 500 kilograms of illicit sandalwood near Lodungokwe. The seized contraband led to the immediate arrest of two individuals involved in this unlawful activity. This decisive action not only curtails the illegal trade but also sends a strong message that the KWTF is unwavering in its commitment to preserving Kenya’s natural heritage.
The KWTF’s track record speaks volumes about its dedication to wildlife conservation and law enforcement. Since its inception, the task force has achieved significant milestones in Kenya, including the seizure of over 49 tonnes of sandalwood and 257 kilograms of elephant ivory through various law enforcement operations. These accomplishments underscore the KWTF’s pivotal role in safeguarding the nation’s biodiversity and serve as a testament to the ongoing battle against illicit wildlife trade in the region.
In a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Uganda Wildlife Crime Unit (UWCU), Operation Hatfield has once again demonstrated its effectiveness by successfully apprehending two individuals attempting to sell 15.5 kilograms of elephant ivory. The UWCU team engaged with the traffickers near Kawempe, skillfully negotiating a resolution that culminated in the arrest of the suspects. While the quantity seized may be modest, the significance lies in the capture of one individual, a broker who had managed to evade arrest in previous investigations.
This operation stands as a testament to the dedication and proficiency of the UWCU team, showcasing their ability to swiftly respond to wildlife crimes. By intercepting and disrupting the illegal trade in elephant ivory, Operation Hatfield not only safeguards the majestic species but also upholds the integrity of previous investigations.