Thousands of endangered animals seized in global customs operation

Support us and go ad-free

Police and customs officials have carried out a global anti-wildlife trafficking operation that has led to the seizure of tens of thousands of endangered animals and the arrest of nearly 600 suspects.

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) and Interpol said that across 109 countries, in June, they conducted nearly 2,000 seizures in a historic operation that helped local authorities round up nearly 10,000 live turtles and tortoises, nearly 1,500 live reptiles, 23 live apes, 30 live big cats, hundreds of pieces of elephant tusk, half a ton of ivory and five rhino horns.

“Wildlife crime not only strips our environment of its resources, it also has an impact through the associated violence, money laundering and fraud,” said Interpol secretary general Juergen Stock.

Interpol released images from the global trafficking haul: Thousands of protected tortoises crawling over each other in a dark container in Kazakhstan; an inquisitive-looking white tiger cub concealed in a pickup in Mexico; and elephant tusks lined up symmetrically on the ground in Kenya.

Read on...

Officers with Ecuador’s Environmental Police hold a snapping turtle
Officers with Ecuador’s Environmental Police hold a snapping turtle (Interpol via AP)

Operation Thunderball, which operated out of Interpol’s Singapore innovation complex, led to the arrest of 582 suspects.

Among the discoveries was a ray of hope that some trafficking is slowing: The WCO said it noted slight declines in the seizures of certain species in “a sign that continued enforcement efforts are bearing fruit”.

Conservation groups globally have applauded the anti-trafficking push.

“This massive disruption of criminal networks is key to saving endangered wildlife across the globe,” said the Wildlife Conservation Society.

It warned, however, that seizures and arrests are only a first step, and that “governments now must follow up with strong, meaningful prosecutions”.

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us