Interpol once again launched a vast and widespread operation involving 109 countries to crack down on poaching, smuggling and wildlife crime.
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers took part in this third edition of a global operation by customs agents, wildlife authorities and police.
Sheldon Jordan is the director-general of wildlife enforcement for the ECCC
This is the third such international operation with Interpol and the World Customs Organisation which has proven highly successful in creating an interruption in the multi-billion dollar illegal trade in wildlife. In fact trade in illegal wildlife has been estimated to be the fourth largest criminal trade activity amounting to about 155 billion dollars annually.
The original 2017 global operation lasted three weeks and the second involved some 92 countries. This year “Operation Thunderball” was the largest by far with many more countries taking part.
According to a press release Canadian officers intercepted items such as, “pangolin carcasses, saiga antelope, sturgeon caviar, diet pills containing hoodia (an endangered African plant species), a wallet made with crocodile skin, and black bear bacula, testes and paws, among other items. In six incidents, compliance orders were issued to protect species at risk in Canada”.
In terms of the international operation illegal wildlife seized in various locations around the world include
- 23 live primates;
- 30 big cats and large quantities of animal parts;
- 440 elephant ivory pieces and five rhino horns;
- More than 4,300 birds;
- Just under 1,500 reptiles and nearly 10,000 turtles and tortoises;
- Almost 7,700 wildlife parts from all species, including more than 30 kg of game meat;
- 2,550 cubic metres of timber (equivalent to 74 truckloads);
- More than 2,600 plants;
- Almost 10,000 marine wildlife items.