Global Interpol operation discovers wildlife and animal skins illegally introduced to Qatar – Doha News

The first such operation with the Global Police Agency took place in 2017.

Qatar Customs helped seize illegally smuggled wildlife and animal skins during the year Operation Thunder 2021, a global mission coordinated by the World Customs Organization [WCO] and Interpol.

The operation took place throughout the month of October and saw the arrest of hundreds of people involved in the trafficking of animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Species of Fauna and Flora. endangered wild animals. [CITES].

Any commercial activity that violates CITES is illegal.

According to Interpol, customs, police, financial intelligence services and wildlife and forest control agencies from 118 countries participated in the operation. This year has also seen the highest number of participating countries since its launch in 2017.

In Qatar, customs found several CITES-listed birds, including Houbara Bustards that have been squeezed into a makeshift shipping box. Reports said Qatari authorities have also found an Arabian wolf and big cats.

A leopard skin was also seized in Qatar, Sky News reported Tuesday.

“Organized criminal networks generate billions in illicit profits every year, to the detriment of our environment as well as the associated impacts of fraud, corruption and violence,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

More than 1,000 seizures have been made and some 300 suspects have been identified so far in this year’s operation, with the results still being reported.

So far, the operation has uncovered 75 parts of big cats, 29 live big cats, 531 tortoises and tortoises, 171 birds, 336 reptiles, 4,843 kg of marine products, 1.4 million items from plant origin, among others.

Sniffer dogs and x-ray scanners have been used to inspect thousands of cars, trucks, boats and freight carriers, where authorities have been able to foil attempts to smuggle wildlife.

“With criminals trafficking endangered species along the same routes they use to smuggle other illicit goods, Customs is strategically placed at borders to intercept CITES products illegally traded,” said the Secretary-General of WCO, Kunio Mikuriya.

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The WCO said the research targeted “live big cats, primates, reptiles, birds and derived products such as clothing, cosmetics, food products, traditional medicines and crafts.” .

Interpol fugitives were identified prior to the operations as well as companies involved in facilitating these crimes.

“The volume of seizures made during Operation Thunder 2021 demonstrates just how serious the threat of transnational organized crime is to wildlife and ecosystems in range, transit and destination countries,” said the secretary General of CITES, Ivonne Higuero.

Since 2017, Operation Tonnerre has seen more than 8,000 seizures of protected wild and forest species and arrested more than 3,000 criminals linked to animal trafficking cases.

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