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More than 200 people were arrested when INTERPOL seized almost two tons of contraband ivory and forty pounds of rhino horn in an operation that spanned three months and fourteen African countries.
INTERPOL and the International Fund for Animal Welfare teamed up to target criminal organizations behind the illegal trafficking of ivory. Also seized were lion, leopard and cheetah pelts, crocodile and python skins, live tropical birds, turtles, and other protected species destined to be illegally trafficked around the world.
More than 320 officers from a range of agencies including police, customs, environmental protection agencies, veterinary services, airport security, ministries of tourism and national prosecuting authorities took part in Operation Worthy that saw interventions carried out at markets, ports, shops, border crossings and during roadside checks.
“IFAW believes that one elephant killed for its ivory is one too many. We will not stand by while elephants are needlessly slaughtered,” Kelvin Alie, Director of IFAW’s Wildlife Crime and Consumer Awareness Program said. “Some range states are doing their part in hosting and protecting their elephants – the rest of us must act to support them in these efforts. That means developed countries joining IFAW in training wildlife officers, researching the illegal trade and ensuring the safety of our common natural heritage.”
“This has been to date the most wide-ranging operation coordinated by INTERPOL against the illegal ivory trade, not just in terms of seizures and arrests, but also in targeting the criminal organizations making millions of dollars through the killing and destruction of wildlife and their habitat, and associated crimes such as murder, corruption and money laundering,” said David Higgins, manager of INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Program.
You can contribute to IFAW's efforts to save orphaned elephants through The Animal Rescue Site's Gifts That Give More.