Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Recipients Honored at International Wildlife Trade Conference in Johannesburg

Johannesburg—Wildlife law enforcement champions from nine countries were recognized today with the Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This prestigious award, presented by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), recognizes individuals, organizations, and agencies that have demonstrated excellence in combatting wildlife crime. The 2016 Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award winners include:

  • Sun Lei, Deputy Director, Beijing Forest Police, China, for his use of innovative technologies to enhance efforts to combat wildlife crime in China, and his success in dismantling wildlife criminal syndicates;
  • Anti-smuggling Bureau of General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China for its strategic efforts and collaboration with other agencies to fight wildlife crime in China;
  • Sanjay Dutta,Range Officer, Belaboba Range, Jalpaiguri District, India, for his dedicated efforts to extinguish wildlife crime and illegal trade, including his work to successfully end timber trafficking in his district and combat rhino poaching;
  • Ritesh Sarothiya, Assistant Conservator of Forests of Madhya Pradesh State Forest Service, India, for his involvement in investigating and solving illegal wildlife trade cases and for providing training to law enforcement officers to fight wildlife crime;
  • Rony Malka, Head of CITES Management Authority and Director, Division of Law Enforcement, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, for numerous accomplishments during his 40-year career to protect wildlife and improve wildlife law enforcement efforts in Israel;
  • Richard Bonham, Director of Operations, Big Life Foundation, Kenya, for his creation of a model community conservation program, protecting wildlife while generating wide public support for wildlife conservation;
  • the Honorable Judi Wangalwa Wakhungu, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of Kenya, for serving as a driving force behind wildlife law enforcement improvements within the Kenya Wildlife Service;
  • Wildlife Crime Pillar of the Central Investigation Bureau, Nepal Police, for its exceptional work to combat organized wildlife trafficking within the trans-Himalayan region;
  • the late Emily Stephen Kisamo, Head of the Tanzania National Parks and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, for his leadership in strengthening the ability of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force to combat wildlife crime;
  • Martin Sims, Head ofthe National Wildlife Crime Unit, United Kingdom, for his leadership of one of world’s most outstanding police units dedicated to combatting wildlife crime;
  • Gibson Mandaza, Deputy Chief Magistrate of Zimbabwe, for his instrumental role in reforming wildlife prosecutions in Zimbabwe; and
  • the late Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) Rangers and Members of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), Mr. Dieudonné Agoyo Mbikoyo, Mr. Jean-Marie Abolo Kpionyeslinani, Lieutenant Moise Ekumu Mospada, Sergeant Kamale Musubao, Captain Anselme Muhindo Kimbesa, Colonel Jacques Lusengo Sukamate, Mr. André Migifuloyo Gada, Corporal Djuma Uweko Adalo, Mr. Rigobert Anigobe Bagale, Mr. Richard Sungudikpio Ndingba, and Mr. Dieudonné Tsago Matikuli, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for sacrificing their lives in attempts to stop the slaughter of elephants in Garamba National Park managed by African Parks.

“Through stellar efforts to combat wildlife crime,” stated Cathy Liss, AWI president, “these award recipients have demonstrated a dedication to wildlife protection, which should be an example to all who cherish the biodiversity on this planet and who are committed to justice against wildlife criminals who illegally capture and kill wildlife out of greed and callousness.”

Since 1997, 96 individuals and/or agencies from 30 countries have received the Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award, which is only presented at a CITES CoPs. Nearly 40 individuals, including 12 who were recognized this year, have received the award posthumously after they made the ultimate sacrifice to protect wildlife.

The award, presented at a reception hosted by the Species Survival Network during the CITES CoP, is named after the late chief of the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement. Mr. Bavin substantially elevated the fight against wildlife crime in the United States and internationally, pioneering the use of covert investigations and sting operations to expose illegal wildlife trade and advocating for the use of forensic science to identify and prosecute wildlife criminals.

“Without individuals and agencies, like those honored this year, willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect wildlife and enforce wildlife laws,” explained DJ Schubert, AWI wildlife biologist, “the wildlife we all enjoy and benefit from would be wiped clean from our forests, fields, rivers, and oceans by wildlife criminals and criminal syndicates.”

More information about the award and this year’s recipients can be found at

About the Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award
The Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Enforcement Award, presented by the Animal Welfare Institute, recognizes individuals, organizations, and agencies that have demonstrated excellence in combatting wildlife crime. The award is named in memory of the late chief of the US 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. For more information, visit

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