Over the past month agents from Interpol have cracked down on global poaching and the illegal trafficking of wildlife. Operation Thunderstorm spanned 92 countries. Agents confiscated millions of dollars worth of illegal goods and identified over 1,400 suspects were identified.
According to the Washington Post, officials confiscated thousands of live animals, including turtles in Malaysia and parrots in Mexico. Canada intercepted 18 tons of eel meat arriving from Asia. Those arrested included two flight attendants in Los Angeles and a man in Israel whose house was raided after he posted a poaching photograph on social media.
The bust removed a total of 43 tons of contraband meat — including bear, elephant, crocodile, whale and zebra — 1.3 tons of elephant ivory, 27,000 reptiles, about 4,000 birds, 48 live primates, 14 big cats and two polar bear carcasses were also seized. Several tons of wood and timber were also seized.
“The results are spectacular,” said Sheldon Jordan, Canada’s director general of wildlife enforcement.
Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem, Jordan said global poaching is worth about $150 billion annually and is fourth in value after the illegal drug trade, counterfeiting and human trafficking.
Hunting is conservation and with out it busts like these would not be possible. Hunting brings in millions of dollars to help fight poaching and smuggling. This is especially true in Africa where with out regulated hunting most countries would not be able to afford the logistics and resources that make busts like this possible.