Crackdown helps raise the alarm over scale of animal trafficking

Crackdown helps raise the alarm over scale of animal trafficking
Copyright Interpol
By Guillaume Petit
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Interpol and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) say nearly 20,000 animals, destined for markets around the globe, were seized in June alone.


A joint investigation has highlighted the scale of animal trafficking. 

Interpol and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) say they have seized thousands of animals destined for markets across the globe.

Nearly 20,000 seizures took place in June alone — reptiles and turtles represented the animals most commonly smuggled.

WCO said 7,700 animal parts were discovered and almost 10,000 marine wildlife items were seized too.

World Wide Fund for Nature says the world is seeing an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade, which is pushing vulnerable species towards extinction. 

As a result of the operation six hundred suspects have been identified and some have been arrested, WCO added.

Interpol says it is cracking down on wildlife traffickers because this illegal trade is increasing.

In Nigeria, for instance, the operation has led to the seizure of a half a tonne of pangolin parts, as seven packages were about to be sent to Asia.

In Uruguay, three suspects were arrested as they were smuggling more than 400 protected wildlife species out of the country.

But the operation also points out another trend — the online wildlife trade is getting bigger.

Investigations made online have led to 21 arrests in Spain and to the seizure in Italy of more than 1,800 poached birds.

Earlier this year, the International Fund for Animal Welfare published an investigation. In six weeks they found more than 5,000 adverts online representing more than €3 million worth of illegal trade.

This wildlife trafficking leads not just to the environment's destruction but also to financing illegal trade; armed groups and terrorism; therefore threatening peace in the most fragile countries.

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