Over 1.3 tonnes of ivory and over one tonne of pangolin scales. This makes a small amount of the seizures of protected wildlife and forestry products by Intrerpol worldwide in the last one month.
The world police seized more than 45,500 live animal and plant specimens, including 1,400 turtles/tortoises, 6,000 turtle/tortoise eggs, 1,160 birds and 1,800 reptiles. The numbers show how much the trade was flourishing despite strong law enforcement.
The Interpol drive named Thunder 2020 commenced on September 14. Cautious on the hot spots and pre-identified routes, the Interpol grabbed 699 offenders till now. The Interpol officials maintained that more persons would be apprehended as part of Thunder 2020. The highlight of the drive was on the vulnerable species that are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This is an international agreement against international trade of wild animals and plants.
Fourth largest illegal trade
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said that wildlife and forestry crimes were fourth largest illegal trade in the world. He said that this was a lucrative illegal business having devastating and far reaching consequences not only for environment but also for the society, health and world economics.
Stock said that illegal wild life crimes went hand in hand with corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and murder. The smugglers of wild life used the same path as that of organized crime groups who smuggled people, drugs, illegal products and even people.
Meanwhile, WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stated that wild life protection was not only for safeguarding the planet but also for world economics. Moreover, Mikuriya also pointed out that Thunder 2020 showed that wild life crimes could be brought down through the cooperation of all stake holders.
Covid 19 and hard time
The Interpol said that COVID-19 pandemic gave the officials a hard time in tackling the crimes. A lot of restrictions and protection protocol was put in place.
The WCO Environment Programme and INTERPOL’s Environment Security Programme coordinated Thunder 2020. The Thunder 2020 operation is the fourth in a series of ‘Thunder’ operations since 2017.