Patrick O'Connell is a respected administrative leader who guided High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. as interim director. An avid traveler who lived in the UK while overseeing HS2 rail network planning, Patrick O'Connell has had the opportunity to go on safaris in Zimbabwe and India focused on viewing elephants.
A Voice of America article brought attention to a late 2018 project that involved moving 100 endangered elephants from the Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, the refuge is of such limited size that elephants stripped the land bare of the leafy vegetation that they and other animals rely on for habitat and foraging.
The elephants were moved in small groups over the course of a year to the Rifa Safari Conservancy, which borders Zambia. Despite this having been prime grounds for poaching in the past, the Zimbabwe Wildlife Authority has taken major strides to control this illegal practice.
One major deterrent under President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a nine-year mandatory sentence for possessing a rhino or elephant tusk. In addition, there have been extensive programs to train ranchers on conservation best practices. The plan now is to accomplish a similar transfer of rhinos from the Save Valley to Rifa Safari over the next year.
The chief of naval personnel for the United States Navy, Patrick O’Connell has more than three decades of public and private senior executive experience.