rhino-fws

Interpol launches public appeal to track down environmental criminals

Interpol has called on the public to help them track down 139 fugitives who are wanted for environmental crimes. Under the guise of Operation Infra (International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest) Terra the international police organisation has asked the public to look out for the first 9 of 139 wanted criminals. Crimes committed by the 139 fugitives targeted by Operation Infra Terra include forestry and illegal logging, fisheries crimes, disposal of toxic waste and traders in ivory and other illegal wildlife parts. It is the first INTERPOL fugitive operation targeting individuals specifically wanted for crimes concerning the environment. The first nine targets chosen by Interpol in the operation are: Adriano Giacobone –…

rhino

Interpol launches specialist wildlife crime unit in Africa

Interpol has announced the formation of a specialist team to be based in Nairobi, Kenya, which will target wildlife criminals such as ivory poachers and rhino horn smugglers. The team will be an extension of the established Environmental Crime Unit based in Lyon, France. The dedicated team will help to co-ordinate activites of law enforcement agencies across Africa and build intelligence networks and information sharing capacity to reign in the activities of major criminal gangs and terrorists who use wildlife as a source of income. The unit will be based at Interpol’s Region Bureau for East Africa in Nairobi. With the illicit trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn a major…

Ricky Gervais supports Metropolitan Police’s call for Londoners to donate unwanted wildlife products

The Metropolitan Police Service Wildlife Crime Unit, in partnership with animal welfare and conservation NGOs, has announced a call for Londoners to donate items made from elephant ivory and other wildlife products from endangered species. The call for donations will run across London police stations until the end of the month and is supported by actor Ricky Gervais . “This is an opportunity for Londoners to show their support and to protect animals from the illegal wildlife trade by giving away any unwanted items made from endangered species such as elephants, tigers and rhinos,” says Ricky Gervais , an active animal supporter. DC Sarah Bailey, Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit,…

Moldovan police and Interpol break up snake venom gang

Police in Moldova working with Interpol officers have broken up a snake venom smuggling gang that operated between Moldova and Afghanistan. The amount of venom seized in the interception was valued at up to 2.8 million Euros. With closer ties being formed between Moldova and the European Union there is an opportunity for criminal gangs to try and exploit access to a lucrative market. Snake venom is used in the medicinal industry and has a value of between 800 and 2000 euros a gramme on the legitimate market. Using information and co-operation through Interpol the Moldovan authorities conducted a month-long operation in order to set up the sting operation. Moldovan…

Wealth not health new trend in wildlife consumption

The days of traditional medicine being a dominant reason for consuming endangered species appears to be heading into history. Today consuming endangered species is all about showing off wealth to others. It’s a trend that will be discussed next week when those involved with wildlife crime will meet in Geneva. The 65th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), will meet between 7th and 11th July. High on the list for discussion is the continuing poaching of elephants and rhinos. But also n the list of discussion is the rising poaching of Asian big cats such as tigers and…

UK courts give conditional discharge to trader of endangered species

Teeside Crown Court  has given a taxidermist who traded illegally in endangered bird species a conditional discharge and a £300 fine. Lee Yafano, 41 years of Glenfield Drive, Middlesbrough, traded stuffed birds of prey on ebay and claimed that the items came with the required permits. Officers from the National Wildlife Crimes Unit and Cleveland Police monitored ebay and monitored a seller, Yafano, who was selling species covered by CITES Annex A species which required a permit – Article 10 – for trade to take place. Yafano knew about the requirements but intentionally ignored the needs for permits Police raided Yafanos home on 12th November 2012 and discovered a live…

Value of environmental crimes dwarfs global international aid

The scale of the problem of environmental crime was revealed today with the publication of a joint report from the United Nationals and Interpol. Globally environmental crimes have a value of up to US$213 billion a year – compare that to a combined global total of US$135 billion a year spent on overseas aid and the scale of the problem becomes very real. The Environmental Crime Crisis: a rapid response assessment was released on the opening day of the first ever United Nations Environment Assembly currently being held in Nairobi, Kenya. The report looked into the full range of environmental crime from elephant poaching to illegal logging, mining and toxic waste dumping.…

2014 rhino killing breaks the 400 mark

Latest figures published today by the South African government has shown that the number of rhino killed for their horns this year is now 402. The Kruger National Park continues to suffer the biggest losses with 266 rhinos killed so far this year. The Eastern Cape has so far this year seen losses of 10 rhino compared with 5 for all of last year. Western Cape has also lost one rhino compared with no rhinos last year. Rhino poaching statistics   South Africa 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 KNP (SANParks) 146 252 425 606 266 MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3 3 0 GP 15 9 1 8 3 LIM 52…

14 rhino horns originated from Namibia

The bail hearing of the 3 Chinese caught trying to smuggle 14 rhino horns out of Namibia has heard that the horns originated from the country. DNA testing has shown that all the horns seem to originate from rhino killed in the country. A microchip found in one of the horns showed that it belonged to a rhino that had been translocated from South Africa to Namibia several years ago. On the first day of the bail hearing the court heard that Li Xiao Liang (30), Li Zhi Bing (53) and Pu Xu Nin (49), had been caught at Hosea Kutako International Airport. The 14 rhino horns had been wrapped in…

National Wildlife Crime Unit issues alert to bird owners

The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit has issued an alert to bird owners and breeders of an increase in thefts of canaries, finches and Budgerigars. Breeders and bird exhibitors in the Midlands and the South of England are being targeted by criminal gangs looking for easy pickings. Wildlife crime offers high rewards with minimum risks and low sentences. Over the last 2 years theft of birds which can be valued at thousands of pounds each have been increasing. A recent pate of thefts have occurred in in the last few months and over 40 burglaries have taken place. At particular risk are owners in Milton Keynes, Southampton, Woking, Margate and…

Zimbabwean police Chief Inspector set for trial over poaching accusations

A police chief inspector has been remanded in custody by magistrates in Zimbabwe for trial on March 14th. The high-ranking officer is accused of bringing the police into dispute by associating with a poacher who is appealing a 9 year prison sentence for elephant poaching. The officer is also charged with failing to complete orders on anti-poaching operations. Chief Inspector Muyambirwa Muzzah who was officer in charge of the Tsholotsho region appeared in front of magistrates at Lupane last week. he was remanded to appear in court again on March 14th for trial. Muzzah was investigated by senior officers after they were told that Muzzah had private use of a…

The price of repeated wildlife crime in Britain – £200

Britain’s most convicted bird egg collector has appeared in court for the 10th time for keeping protected wild bird eggs. The sentence handed out by magistrates was a £200 fine and £300 in costs. Yet again British magistrates have chosen to ignore the on-going threat to wildlife and the impact of wildlife crime on wild species. Gregory Peter Wheal (50yrs) of Vinecote Road, Coventry appeared before magistrates on 3rd March 2014 for keeping 4 birds eggs. The eggs were discovered by police who were at Wheal’s home on another unrelated matter in September 2013. The eggs belonged to  two guillemot, one razorbill and a mute swan. Wheal is well-known locally for…

British courts again fail to take illegal wildlife trading seriously

Once again magistrates and the courts in Britain have failed to take the illegal trade in endangered species seriously. This time a trader of endangered tortoises got away with nothing more than a conditional discharge at Slough Magistrates Court. And it comes barely weeks after a high profile conference in London concerned with trading of endangered species. Again the illegal traders in Britain are hiding behind what appears to be good causes. This latest incident involves Graham Martin, 36, of Furze Platts, Bracknell who traded endangered spur-thighed and Hermann’s tortoises while at the same time passing himself off as a reptile rescuer by operating the Berkshire Reptile Rescue in Bracknell.…

South Africa speaks out against the London Declaration

South Africa has spoken out against some of the commitments in the London Declaration against poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife. Of particular concern is the commitment given by those present to end trading in wildlife products and not to undertake sustainable usage of natural resources. The South African government also claim that some of the commitments goes against international binding agreements. South Africa was not able to attend the London conference in wildlife crime and poaching because the timetable clashed with the State opening of Parliament in South Africa. The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, has today released a statement responding to the Declaration.…

EIA responds to London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) broadly welcomes the outcomes of today’s landmark London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade as a strong indication that world leaders are finally getting serious about tackling international wildlife crime.  The new EIA report In Cold Blood – Combating organised wildlife crime, released just days before the Conference, examines wildlife crime case histories and highlights the crucial lessons to be learnt for better enforcement.  As well as driving both iconic and little known species towards extinction, wildlife crime undermines democratic structures, sows corruption at every level and funds conflict, terrorism and other serious criminal activities.  EIA Executive Direct Mary Rice said: “EIA is particularly pleased…

UK to fund power behind new anti-poaching stations in Uganda

As part of the £10 million fund to fight the illegal wildlife trade and poaching, which was announced recently, the UK government is set to fund solar power panels and geo-location cameras at new anti-poaching stations in Uganda. The new stations are due to open  in the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. The plans were announced at an event attended by the British High Commissioner HE Alison Blackburne, and Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Dr Andrew Seguya. Blackburne said in a statement, “The UK is determined to play its part in a global effort – getting agreement at the G8 and in the Commonwealth to work with partners across the international…

United States opens first shots in wildlife crime week

In a week that is sure to be full of announcements by politicians on how they are to combat the growing trade in wildlife the United States have opened the action with major boost to combat illegal wildlife trade. New proposals put forward by the Whitehouse will severely restrict the domestic trade in ivory. The new regulations will see an interstate ban on all ivory trades within the United States unless the ivory is classified as antique – or over 100 years old. The new proposals just release will also mean that any ivory put up for sale without proof that it is legal will be automatically seized until that…

23 NGOs say Ivory Trade Ban Essential to Save Elephants

As world leaders gather in London on 13 February to attend a summit – hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and attended by Prince Charles and Prince William – to confront the escalating poaching crisis decimating the world’s iconic wildlife, 23 environmental, conservation, and animal welfare groups from 14 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America demand a permanent ban on both domestic and international trade in ivory and the destruction of all government-held stocks. Experts estimate approximately 50,000 elephants were killed in 2013 to satisfy the demand for ivory – largely from China. This level of poaching has not been seen since the 1980s. Without urgent action…

Cobra 2 leads to big wildlife trade busts

Chinese led wildlife trafficking operation Cobra 2 has led to over 400 arrests, recovery of 3 tonnes of ivory and 36 rhino horns and other wildlife products. Details of the success of Cobra 2 were released today by authorities in Beijing. Cobra is the name of a series of operations led by China and involving  the United States, South Africa, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network, and the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network. The investigations cover multiple countries and in today’s media release, from the China Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office, the full details of the second operation were made known. Law enforcement operators…