International Crime Syndicates Involved in Murder and Mutilation of Wildlife in East and Central Africa

Africa’s largest-ever investigation of wildlife crime has unearthed a ton of illegal African elephant ivory, several animal pelts, and hippopotamus teeth, the Kenya Wildlife Service and INTERPOL announced this week. The undercover operation, coordinated by INTERPOL—the world’s largest international police organization—booked more than 60 alleged criminals in five African countries.

A victim of poaching

Among those caught were four Chinese nationals attempting to smuggle ivory curios out of Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The rapidly growing presence of China in Africa is seen as a major driver of the ivory trade, experts say. Between 1998 and 2006, Chinese authorities seized an average of 39 tons of ivory each year, according to the United Nations Elephant Trade Information System.

Hippo’s have not only been a target of Bushmeat but their teeth and bones are used for carvings and jewelry

But wildlife authorities who participated in the sting—code-named Project Baba for Gilbert Baba, a Ghanaian ranger killed in the line of duty—say small-time traffickers arrested in recent weeks will lead them to bigger players.

Pendants from Congo made out of Hippo Teeth

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