Global Interpol operation uncovers wild animals and animal skins smuggled into Qatar – Doha News
The first such operation with the global police agency took place in 2017.
Qatar Customs helped seize wild animals and smuggled animal skins at annual meeting Thunderball 2021a global mission coordinated by the World Customs Organization [WCO] and Interpol.
The operation ran throughout October and saw the arrest of hundreds of people involved in the smuggling of animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. ‘extinction. [CITES].
Any commercial activity that violates CITES is illegal.
According to Interpol, customs, police, financial intelligence units and wildlife and forestry control agencies from 118 countries took part in the operation. This year also saw the highest number of participating countries since its launch in 2017.
29 live #CITES-the listed animals were rescued from traffic during @WCO_OMD – INTERPOL Operation Thunder2021, including these live big cats intercepted in the Middle East and South America @ICCWC_WFC https://t.co/UxWQYUEWOu pic.twitter.com/Ygw341MUsA
— INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) November 30, 2021
In Qatar, customs found several CITES-listed birds, including Houbara bustards that have been pressed in a makeshift shipping box. Reports said Qatari authorities also found an Arabian wolf and big cats.
A leopard skin was also seized in Qatar, as well as Sky News reported Tuesday.
“Organized criminal networks generate billions in illicit profits each year, which has a significant cost to our environment and 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, the results of which are still being released.
So far, the operation has discovered 75 big cat parts, 29 live big cats, 531 turtles and tortoises, 171 birds, 336 reptiles, 4,843 kg of marine products, 1.4 million original items plant, among others.
Sniffer dogs and X-ray scanners were used to inspect thousands of cars, trucks, boats and cargo carriers, where authorities were able to thwart attempts to smuggle wildlife.
“With criminals smuggling endangered species along the same routes they use to smuggle other illicit goods, Customs is strategically placed at borders to intercept illegally traded CITES products,” said the Secretary General of the OMD, Kunio Mikuriya.
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The WCO said the research targeted “live big cats, primates, reptiles, birds and related products such as clothing, cosmetics, food products, traditional medicines and handicrafts”.
The Interpol Red Notice fugitives were identified prior to the operations as well as the companies involved in facilitating these crimes.
“The volume of seizures made during Operation Thunder 2021 demonstrates how serious the threat of transnational organized crime is to wildlife and ecosystems in range, transit and destination countries” , said CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero.
Since 2017, Operation Thunder has seen over 8,000 seizures of protected wildlife and forest species and arrested over 3,000 criminals connected to animal smuggling cases.