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Interpol Reports Largest Ever Wildlife-Related Crime Arrests

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avatar Interpol Reports Largest Ever Wildlife-Related Crime Arrests
December 02, 2009 08:15AM

More than two tons of illegal ivory have been seized and more than 100 people arrested in the largest-ever transnational operation targeting wildlife crime across Africa co-ordinated by INTERPOL.

Codenamed Operation Costa, the series of actions involved officers from police, national wildlife, customs and national intelligence agencies across six countries – Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Officers in all six countries carried out inspections and raids on shops and markets in addition to checks being made on suspect vehicles at border crossing points. As well as illegal elephant ivory other wildlife products, such as leopard skins, were seized in addition to weapons, ammunition and vehicles being confiscated.

“The success of Operation Costa is notable not only for the sheer volume of illegal ivory which has been recovered, which is among the biggest ever hauls recorded, but because it also clearly shows the ability and will of law enforcement to effectively tackle wildlife crime,” said Peter Younger, manager of INTERPOL’s OASIS (Operational Assistance, Services and Infrastructure Support) Africa wildlife crime programme.

“The illegal ivory trade is not just about smugglers and poachers, there are far-reaching consequences to this and all wildlife crime. Law enforcement officers have been killed, people are threatened with violence, corruption and the wider economic impact on a country are all linked to this type of crime.”


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