Month-long transcontinental operation hit wildlife criminals hard
The largest ever global operation results in 1,974 seizures and the identification of 1,400 suspects
1.3 tonnes of elephant ivory, 8 tonnes of pangolins scales, 4,000 birds and 27,000 reptiles among the specimens seized.
Geneva, 19 June 2018– An international operation against the illegal trade in wild animals and plants including timber has seen hundreds of seizures worldwide as well as arrests of suspects.
Code-named “Thunderstorm” and targeting the people and networks behind global wildlife crime, the operation involved police, customs, border, wildlife, forestry and environment agencies from 92 countries and resulted in millions of dollars-worth of seizures.
The month-long operation, from 1 to 31 May, has so far brought 1,974 seizures and the identification of some 1,400 suspects, triggering arrests and investigations worldwide. Further arrests and prosecutions are foreseen as ongoing investigations unfold.
According to INTERPOL, total worldwide seizures reported to date include:
~43 tonnes of wild meat (from bear, elephant, crocodile, whale and zebra etc.)
~1.3 tonnes of raw and processed elephant ivory
~27,000 reptiles (including approximately 869 alligators/crocodiles, 9,590 turtles and 10,000 snakes)
~Almost 4,000 birds, including pelicans, ostriches, parrots and owls
~Several tonnes of wood and timber
~48 live primates
~14 big cats (tiger, lion, leopard and jaguar)
~The carcasses of 7 bears, including 2 polar bears.
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