Just a few short years ago, pangolins were said to be the most trafficked species you’ve never heard of, poached for their meat and scales, but they became much more famous after they were potentially connected to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and, most recently, EIA’s investigations revealed that West and Central Africa have become the epicentre for pangolin scale trafficking to Asia.
Podcast – What on Earth?
Africa’s epicentre of pangolin scale and ivory trade – tackling the drivers of wildlife crime
Welcome back to the EIA What on Earth? podcast.
In this episoide, Chris Hamley, EIA’s Senior Pangolin Campaigner, takes a look at the issues with two of our in-country partners, Adams Cassinga, the Founding Director of Conserv Congo, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Vincent Opyene, the CEO and Founder of the Natural Resource Conservation Network, in Uganda.
Adams Cassinga is a wildlife criminal investigator, wildlife activist, civic leader, and public speaker from Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. After running a successful mining consultancy business for years, he decided to dedicate his life to protecting the Congolese biodiversity. He is currently the founder and CEO for Conserv Congo, a nature conservation-aligned NGO which fights poaching and wildlife trafficking and promotes environmental conservation through education in the Congo. Conserv Congo, comprising a group of young wildlife activists, fights the illegal wildlife trafficking by infiltrating gangs and networks of traffickers, organising sting operations with the authorities to make arrests and then making sure that justice takes its course and there is zero corruption in the cases. Adams is a former investigative reporter for the Caxton media group in South Africa. He was shot three times while investigating a story in 2006 and was a recipient of the Caxton’s “No guts, no story” award for showing courage in the face of danger.
Vincent Opyene is the founder of Natural Resource Conservation Network in Uganda, where he has devoted 90 per cent of his practice to protection of wildlife. He has extensive experience in advocacy and wildlife, having worked at Uganda Wildlife Authority for 13 years before starting NRCN, an organisation dedicated to combating wildlife crime from 2013 to the present. His achievements include being a fellow of the US Fish & Wildlife Service mentor fellowship, an award of excellence from the Government of Uganda and the winner of the Tusk Award for Conservation in Uganda 2018. Vincent is an advocate of the supreme court of Uganda and other courts subordinate to it with a Post Graduate Diploma in Wildlife Management.