In this episode, I’m talking with Timothy Santel. Tim is currently the Senior Advisor on International Wildlife Trafficking programs for Focused Conservation, which is a nonprofit changing the game in the battle against wildlife crime through investigations, government support, and information sharing. Tim spent over 33 years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and retired as a Special Agent in Charge of their Special Investigations Unit. Tim developed and oversaw a team of elite covert federal agents tasked with investigating transnational criminal organizations that were illegally trafficking wildlife. In recognition of his efforts, Tim received numerous awards throughout his career including the prestigious Guy Bradley Award, Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, and North American Wildlife Officer of the Year.
In this conversation, we go deep into the work being done at Focused Conservation, why what they are doing is important to the cause, and how you can support. We dive into Tim’s progression from growing up in a rural Midwestern town in the US, to becoming a law enforcement agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We go into many of his experiences on the job and investigations including Operation Crash, which resulted in nearly 50 prosecutions globally for trafficking in rhino horns and elephant ivory. Tim is generous with his stories and his wisdom.