Fighting Wildlife Crime: “There is Hope” (Video)

Wildlife does not belong to an individual,” says Julius Kamwendwit Cheptei in this video interview. Assistant Director of the Southern Conservation Area, Kenya Wildlife Service Parks and Preserves, Cheptei is a veteran of the struggle to protect his country’s wildlife from poachers, ivory traders, and other criminals. For Cheptei, wild animals belong to everyone, so everyone should be involved in fighting wildlife crime.

Wildlife belongs to the entire world,” he says in the video.” It is important for all people to come together for a common good, the ensure that the animals survive, he adds. “Wildlife is a resource that we cannot afford to lose. Our forefathers left us these resources, to preserve and protect. and we have a responsibility that we also must preserve [and] protect it for future generations.”

Collective Action Is Hope for Success

Cheptei does not attribute successes in prevailing against wildlife criminals to any individual. “Success is collective…and there’s a lot of hope because everybody all over the world is rallying behind the same. Without hope, we will not be doing what we are doing. There is hope because we come together to preserve it. There is hope because we are fighting for a common good. So there is hope for the survival of these animals. Hope is there for me, for you, for my children, and your children, too. There is hope.”

Fighting Wildlife Crime on the Front Lines

This video interview with Julius Kamwendwit Cheptei is part of a series of interviews with the unsung heroes fighting wildlife crime on the front lines. Journalist and National Geographic Fellow Bryan Christy uses investigative journalism to expose illegal wildlife trafficking around the globe. He introduces the interview series in the video below:

Watch more videos in this series>>


Julius Cheptei recently participated in a global seminar and training summit in Washington, D.C., focusing on collaboration between wildlife law enforcement agencies across the world. Read more about this below. Follow the link for a more comprehensive briefing.

Photograph by David Claypool

Uniting Against Organized Wildlife Crime

Law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and business leaders gathered from across the world in Washington recently to share information and expertise and organize a concerted strategy to combat the global scourge of wildlife trafficking.

The unprecedented collaboration was heralded at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters on Tuesday, at an event held against the backdrop of recent news of a catastrophic plunge in the last wild populations of African elephants and other species. The meeting also set the stage for CITES CoP17, a conference in Johannesburg at the end of this month that will bring more than a hundred governments together to review the planet’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.

More About National Geographic’s Contributions to Fighting Wildlife Crime

National Geographic Society

  • Saving Big Cats: Around the world, trophy hunting, habitat loss, and conflict with humans are putting big cats at great risk. See what we’re doing to help.
  • A Voice for Elephants: Elephants may be large, heavy and thick-skinned, but they are being threatened with extinction in the wild by poaching for their ivory, and by human impact on their habitats. “A Voice for Elephants” is a resource for information about this critical species, a forum for discussion, and a rally point for those who want to stand with them.
National Geographic Media
The National Geographic Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is dedicated to shining light on commercial-scale exploitation of wildlife and other valued resources, identifying weaknesses in national and international efforts to protect wildlife, and empowering institutions and individuals working for a better world. Stories cover a range of human activity, from crime to heroism. You can find all of the SIU’s stories at Wildlife Watch.