November 17, 2008

Largest Ever Wildlife Bust Made In Africa

In Africa's largest-ever international crackdown on wildlife crime, Interpol and the Kenya Wildlife Service have seized more than one ton of ivory products.

The seizure led to the arrest of 57 illegal traders across five African nations.

Similar trans-national operations will be carried out worldwide to combat wildlife crime, according to Interpol.

The worldwide busts, dubbed Operation Baba, started in June in response to a plea to Interpol from African nations dealing with illegal elephant killings.

Local dealers and brokers were intercepted by undercover agents at ivory markets, border crossings and airports in the nations of Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia.

Over a ton of ivory products, including powdered ivory and carved items, were recovered along with leopard, cheetah and serval cat skins.

Giuliano Zaccardelli, director of Interpol's Oasis program, said co-operation among countries in East, West and Southern Africa against wildlife crime has set an inspired example.

"Similar operations could also be conducted in Asia, the Americas and in any other region where criminal interests, including trafficking in illegal wildlife products, are common."


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