Kenya: Espionage in the service of animals

bY CRIMSON TAZVINZWA//Poaching is a global industry. Poachers often form networks much like militant groups. Faye Cuevas used to work for the US military, fighting militants. She’s now using her expertise to protect Kenya’s elephant population from poachers.

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Cuevas is responsible for vetting, developing and operationalizing new projects that advance International Fund for Animal Wefare(IFAW) institutional plan.  Cuevas partners with key stakeholders (executive leadership, trustees, staff, community leaders, and external advisors) to cultivate strategic opportunities.

In addition to this role, Cuevas is involved with the oversight of IFAW’s Operation tenBoma, a first-of-its-kind counter-poaching and community security project in East Africa leveraging lessons the US Military learned during counter-terror operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Faye is also a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force Reserves and a decorated veteran with 19 years of military service including multiple deployments throughout the Middle East and Africa.  Over half of Faye’s military career has been spent providing intelligence support to US counter-terror and partnered Special Operations missions to include foreign internal defense, civil-military support, partner nation capacity building, and direct action.

Most recently with Special Operations Command-Africa, Faye led Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance support for over 100 special operations missions in West, Central, and the Horn of Africa. Faye is credited for originating an intelligence system tailored to operations in Africa. Through more robust technical components and more effective communications, information processing and analytical methodologies, the system was able to simultaneously support special operations with African partners in west, central and east Africa. These same proven methodologies serve as the foundation of IFAW’s Operation tenBoma.


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