As a child growing up in the African bush at Olduvai Gorge, where animal sounds and storybook sights filled my soul, I gained an appreciation of our intimate relationship with and interconnectedness to nature. That realization inspired me to dedicate my life to ensuring wild animals and places will be around for generations to come.

Since the 1980s, when I worked to stop the elephant slaughter in Kenya and establish a ban on trade in elephant ivory, it has become apparent that illegal wildlife trafficking is threatening the very existence of already endangered plants and animals around the globe. Such trafficking is so massive it ranks a close third in illicit international commerce, behind only drugs and weapons. Ultimately, it cannot be stemmed without both greater investment in enforcement and increased awareness.

Animal Investigators provides an excellent account of how a little known group of dedicated scientists is providing a new and vital weapon in the arsenal of wildlife law enforcement officers. It is my hope that the telling of their fascinating stories will help generate the public support necessary to expand their efforts and the work of their colleagues and allies around the world.

— Richard Leakey, renowned paleontologist, conservationist and founder of Wildlife Direct