“Huge” quantities of animal contraband, including several tons of ivory, rhino horns, and whale bones, were seized as part of an international operation involving 62 countries, revealed Europol, the European police office, on Thursday. “Operation COBRA III, the widest operation against the illegal trade of endangered species ever, resulted in the seizure of huge quantities of animal contraband,” pointed out Europol in a press release.
One of the associations taking part in the operation, ASEAN-WEN (a group of South-East Asian nations aiming to protect local fauna and flora), asserted that the operation led to the arrest of “at least 300 suspects.”
Several heads of criminal networks were arrested as well, including a Chinese man implicated in the biggest case of contraband rhino horns in Namibia, and a notorious elephant hunter in India.
Over 100 rhino horns were seized, as well as 1,439 animals dead or alive, including seahorses, turtles, eels… 16 whale ribs were seized in the Netherlands, added Europol, which is based in The Hague. In Great Britain, over 10,000 dead seahorses and 400 live turtles were seized. In Thailand police seized 4 tons of ivory in containers hailing from the DRC, where its trade has been banned since 1989. In India, almost 11 tons of tiger bones were found.