Interpol seizes two tonnes of elephant ivoryJune 20th, 2012 - 2:48 am ICT by IANS
Cape Town, June 20 (IANS) The Interpol seized nearly two tonnes of elephant ivory in an operation involving 14 African countries, including South Africa, it was announced here Tuesday.
The three-month long Operation Worthy also led to the arrests of over 200 suspects, the global police organisation said in a statement.
Over 20 kg of rhino horn, lion, leopard and cheetah pelts, crocodile and python skins and various protected species destined to be trafficked illegally were also recovered, Xinhua reported.
More than 320 officers from police, customs, environmental protection agencies, veterinary services and airport security, among others, took part in the operation.
“This has been to date the most wide-ranging operation coordinated by Interpol against the illegal ivory trade, not just in terms of seizures and arrests, but also in targeting the criminal organisations,” said David Higgins, manager of Interpol’s Environmental Crime Programme.
Operation Worthy was part of Interpol’s Project Wisdom, an initiative against elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn poaching funded by the UK Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the NGO International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Countries participated in the operation include Ethiopia, Botswana, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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Tags: african countries, criminal organisations, david higgins, defra, department of environment, elephant ivory, environmental crime, environmental protection agencies, illegal ivory, international fund for animal welfare, ivory trade, pelts, project wisdom, protected species, rhino horn, rhinoceros, rhinoceros horn, rural affairs, veterinary services, xinhua