Wild Animal Trade: An Interpol Operation Saves Several Thousand Animals

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At the end of June 2018, Interpol announced the results of a month-long global operation against illegal trade in wildlife and rare timber.

 

Code-named Thunderstorm, the operation involved police, customs, border, environment, wildlife and forestry agencies in 92 countries.

 

trafic ivoireSource: Associated Press

 

According to Associated Press, Sheldon Jordan, Canada's director general of Wildlife Enforcement said in a statement:

 

In this operation, these countries focused during the month of May on all sort of wildlife crimes whether they be plants, animals, timber. The results were spectacular.

 

During the month-long operation, 1,974 seizures took place, worth several million dollars. Among the animal products seized were 42 metric tons of wild meat (bear, elephant, crocodile, whale, zebra…), 1,3 tons of elephant ivory, 27,000 reptiles, almost 4,000 birds, 48 live primates, 14 big cats and the carcasses of seven bears including two polar bears.

 

Wildlife crime is the fourth-largest crime by value in the world, estimated to be worth $115 billion a year.

 

Among all the species threatened by illegal trafficking, pangolins are in the most danger. During the only month of the operation, eight tons of pangolin  scales were seized. These scales are popular in Asian traditional medicine and its this popularity which brings them to the brink of extinction.

 

trafic oiseauxSource: Associated Press

 

Interpol said two flight attendants were arrested in Los Angeles carrying live spotted turtles to Asia in personal baggage. Both suspects have been charged with smuggling protected species.

 

A man was arrested in Israel and awaits deportation to Thailand after his hunting photograph on social media led to the seizure of multiple wildlife items at his home, including fox, jackal and mongoose bodies.

 

According to Juergen Stock, Interpol Security General, operation Thunderstorm reveals "how wildlife trafficking groups use the same routes as criminals involved in other crime areas – often hand in hand with tax evasion, corruption, money laundering and violent crime."

 

H/t: Associated Press

 

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