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Interpol haul in fight against wild animal trafficking

Interpol, the international police cooperation organisation, announced yesterday (Thursday) that a global operation to fight the trafficking of wild animals and plants, has enabled successful hauls. The organisation says that it has permitted not only the seizure of thousands of animals but also ivory and precious wood. Nearly 900 suspects have been identified.

Interpol, headquartered in Lyon, has issued a communiqué stating that the combined total seizures have a value of some $5.1 million.

Police and customs services, and environmental protection, forestry and wild fauna agencies from 43 countries and territories have contributed to this operation. It has been dubbed Operation Thunderbird.

There have also been some 4,770 birds and 1,240 reptiles (of which at least 560 of these were freshwater turtles and tortoises) seized. The seizure included 100 feral cats. There were also 2.75 tonnes of pangolin scales and protected mammals. Organisations involved also found the most poached items in the world, being 2.54 tonnes of ivory, 25 tonnes of various types of meat carcasses, horns and feathers, and even 60 tonnes of wood.

More than 14.3 tonnes of wild marine fauna were discovered. In Hong Kong, 1.3 tonnes of sandalwood from Malaysia have also been seized.

Up to the current time, the operation which has taken place over three weeks has permitted the placing of 89 individuals in prison, for sentences ranging from several days to seven years.

Jürgen Stock, the Secretary General of Interpol, quoted in the text, says that this form of trafficking has “increased in recent years, generating billions of dollars in illegal profits. These criminals are plundering precious environmental resources, without seemingly a care for our planet.”

The Brussels Times