HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The year 2012 changed my life. An opportunity presented itself to me to use my professional skills and networks to support anti-poaching efforts in eastern Africa. The need to have effective measures against poaching was more than urgent – the number of elephants killed for ivory was increasing uncontrollably.
Because of my professional background in military, police force and animal cruelty investigations, I had a clear vision of what I could do to help the fight against ivory trafficking in Africa.
Without any delay, we started to recruit suitable people to our team, trained our dog Rokka for the pilot project, and cooperated with our Tanzanian partner organization PAMS Foundation to find all other partners needed for the execution of the project.
I have been frequently asked if we really needed to establish a new non-governmental organisation. Were there not enough NGOs operating in wildlife conservation, ones that I could have worked for?
In my opinion, no.
There was a clear need for a flexible, transparent and cost-effective Finnish wildlife conservation NGO – one that would be fully operational. We wanted to create an open and transparent organisation: a link to all those, who would want to support the day-to-day field operations within wildlife conservation in Africa.
There’s a dire need for professional detection dog services in Africa. So far the problem has been that the services available are too expensive for the organisations who really need them. This lead to the founding of Team Rokka. We wanted to produce and make dog services available through our own, non-profit NGO.
Team Rokka is guided by its values: transparency, honesty and loyalty. The people working with Team Rokka meet, and adhere to, these values. I am honored to have the opportunity to work together with these remarkable people, who strive to make a difference in the world.
TANZANIAN PILOT PROJECT & THE FUTURE
Team Rokka worked in Tanzania from 2015 to 2016 and returned home to Finland in August 2016. Read more about our project from here.
Right now we are identifying the next possible projects for detection dog operations. This includes communicating between Africa and Asia to find out the best destination to target illegal transportation of ivory and other wildlife body parts.
We are also looking for potential operational partners and sponsors.
We expect to be finished with the groundwork within the first quarter of 2017. When all is agreed upon, we will announce the details for our future plans.
December 2nd, 2016