AWI Honors Wildlife Protection Heroes

The presentation of the Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award to eleven deserving recipients who demonstrated exemplary wildlife protection efforts was a highlight of the 15th meeting of CITES. This prestigious award presented by the Animal Welfare Institute at a Species Survival Network reception is named in memory of the late Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement, who pioneered the agency's highly effective use of covert investigations and "sting" operations to uncover illegal wildlife trade.

The 2010 award recipients included rangers, attorneys, investigators, agencies, instructors, and administrators whose diverse skills and activities resulted in exemplary wildlife law enforcement victories. Their accomplishments include providing developing nations and new CITES members with the equipment and technical expertise to enable them to effectively safeguard wildlife threatened by trade. Others used their extraordinary skills and passion for the law and tedious investigation to bring wildlife traffickers to justice. Those on the front lines of law enforcement, one of whom paid the ultimate price, put their lives on the line daily in the pursuit of wildlife protection and the proper enforcement of CITES. Through myriad ways each utilized their unique abilities for the sake of endangered animals.

The CoP15 Clark R. Bavin award recipients were: Dr. Bill Clark, CITES Coordinator for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Department of Law Enforcement; Nitin Desai, Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India’s operation in Central India; John Laigwanani, Sergeant with the Kenya Wildlife Service; The Anti-smuggling Bureau of Guangzhou Customs, China; Andrew McWilliam, Investigative Support Officer, National Wildlife Crime Unit, United Kingdom; Birgith Sloth, Nature Conservation and Management Specialist based in Denmark; The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Ministry of Environment & Forests, India; Captain Li Huadong, Criminal Investigation Brigade in Shenyang Forestry Policy Bureau, China; Attorney Asis Generoso, Director for Law Enforcement, Tanggol Kalikasan, Philippines; and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Special Operations Unit and U.S. Department of Justice attorneys involved in Operation Central. A posthumous Award was given to Muga Joel Got, a Kenya Wildlife Service ranger who was killed on Christmas Day 2009 by ivory poachers. The awards were presented by Willem Wijnstekers, the outgoing Secretary-General of CITES. Details regarding the recipients can be found at: www.awionline.org/bavinawards.