Shout about these extraordinary people, and the tireless work they do to protect our most vulnerable animals.

Vincent Opyene



From a young age Vincent knew that he wanted to make a difference to the state of Uganda’s wildlife and so he combined his passion for the natural world with his love of the law. His experience in the field, conducting ranger patrols in National Parks for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, combined with his experience in the Courts as a state prosecutor, was the inspiration that Vincent needed to establish the Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN).

Uganda is a major international transit hub for ivory, pangolins, and other illicit wildlife products from across East and Central Africa. Thanks to NRCN and their partnership with government, up to four significant wildlife trackers are arrested each month.

The NRCN model is working proof on how civil society can work with government and other partners to tackle corruption and improve governance. Vincent and his team have been given authority to prosecute wildlife cases on behalf of the government. Uganda now has a specific court dedicated to wildlife cases as a direct result of their success. This exemplifies the significance of Vincent and NRCN’s work in changing policy and practice in enforcing wildlife laws.

Vincent has single-handedly changed how Uganda addresses the illegal wildlife trade. He risks his life on a daily basis to combat wildlife trafficking and to bring criminals to justice. His persistent, silent, unique work behind the scenes to address wildlife crime on the street and in the courtroom

is making a real and significant difference.

Vincent is an unsung hero who works behind the scenes to make real change happen in addressing wildlife crime.

Inspired by Vincent’s story? Read another extraordinary story. 

Image Credits: © Sarah Marshall

Vincent Opyene 2018 Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa finalists

The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa

This award is given to an individual who has been judged to be emerging as a leading conservationist in recognition of their outstanding contribution to, and considerable success, in their chosen field. The award is sponsored by Land Rover. The three finalists are present at the Awards Ceremony, with the winner being announced on the night, who will receive a beautiful trophy, as well as a grant of £20,000. The two runners up each receive a grant of £7,500.

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Many thanks to David Yarrow,
Tusk’s official photographer for use of his wonderful work.

Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge, KG KT

The Tusk Conservation Awards are an initiative of Tusk.

Tusk Trust – UK Registered Charity, No 803118

In the USA “The Friends of Tusk Fund” donor advised fund is administered by CAF America (Tax ID 68-0480736)