USFWS Special Agent Receives Clark C. Bavin Award

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

U.S. Department of the Interior

011-56-9-605-7360

Office of the Secretary

For Immediate Release: November 8, 2002

Contact: Hugh Vickery in Santiago, or 011-56-9-685-5222 (News Media Only)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Receives International Wildlife Enforcement Award

Santiago, Chile -- Three international wildlife conservation organizations honored U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Edward Grace with the prestigious Clark R. Bavin Law Enforcement Award at a ceremony at the 12th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The Animal Welfare Institute, the Species Survival Network, and the Monitor Consortium cited Grace for his work as especial agent investigating illegal smuggling of endangered wildlife into New York City. The three organizations sponsor the award, which is named after Clark Bavin, who served as chief of the Service's law enforcement division from 1972until his death in 1990, and recognizes outstanding work in combating wildlife crime.

"Special Agent Grace recently concluded the dismantling of a smuggling operation that had brought over 20,000 pounds of endangered sturgeon roe, with an estimated value in excess of $12 million into the United States," CITES Secretary General Willem Wijnstekers said in announcing the award. He also noted that Grace's recent investigations have resulted in large seizures of sea turtle eggs, the meat of endangered primates, and elephant ivory.

Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Craig Manson attended the ceremony and will present the award, which includes a sculpture of an elephant donated by American wildlife artist John Perry, to Grace at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

"We are especially proud that one of our agents received this award, which is named for the man who guided Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement during most of the 1970s and 1980s when it took on many new responsibilities, particularly in the area of international trade and global conservation," Manson said.

Grace's accomplishments include leading investigations that broke up smuggling rings that deal in caviar, elephant ivory and sea turtle eggs, as well as items made from gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and other endangered species, said Kevin Adams, chief of the Service's Office flaw Enforcement, who also attended the ceremony.

These investigations led to the conviction of the president of a Russian caviar company for smuggling caviar into the United States as well as several individuals who were smuggling sea turtle eggs and sea turtle and endangered monkey meat to New York restaurants. He also led efforts to break up an ivory smuggling ring and seize $350,000 in ivory that was headed for the U.S. African art market. The two ring leaders were convicted and sent to prison.

"Laws and treaties that protect wildlife are only as effective as their enforcement," Adams said. "Ed's investigative work demonstrates how important continued vigilance is to ensuring the viability of animal and plant species around the world."

Four other law enforcement officers from around the world also received the Bavin Award at the ceremony. Captain Ibrahim A. Ogle, head of the Kenya Wildlife Service Airwing, was honored for his leadership in using aircraft to combat elephant poachers, including risking his life repeatedly in confrontations with heavily armed gangs.

Major Carmen Castro of the Costa Rican Coastguard was recognized for her work to stop illegal fishing and hunting of sea turtles, sharks, fish and molluscs and to shut down illegal trafficking in parrots and other birds by sea.

Karl Kerugmata, a Ugandan wildlife officer, was honored for collecting intelligence that led to seizure of 6.5 tons of elephant ivory and 40,810 rough cut ivory signature seals in Singapore earlier this year.

Richard Charette, chief of wildlife inspections for the Canadian Wildlife Service, was recognized for his leadership in a wide range of wildlife law enforcement areas during his career, including developing training programs for law enforcement and customs officers.

-DOI-