Interpol and the World Customs Organization teamed up and saved lots of endangered animals, they said on Tuesday.
This big save happened thanks to over 500 arrests around the world in October. They named it “Operation Thunder.” It’s a yearly thing they do to stop people from hurting wildlife. This year, 133 countries joined in, making it the biggest effort since they started in 2017.
They found more than 1,370 birds, a pangolin, two langurs, two tamarins, 53 other primates, and heaps of turtle eggs. They also got 660 pounds of ivory, 30 tons of plants, bits of big cats, rhino horns, and more. Some of these were hidden in suitcases or with other stuff people carry. Others were moved in cars, boats, and big cargo ships.
These plants and animals are safe thanks to a big rule called CITES, set up in 1963. It keeps endangered critters from being sold illegally. Any deals that break this rule are a no-go, the people in charge say.
They’re still figuring out all the details from the arrests, but what they know now is pretty wild. About 60% of these sneaky deals were done by big, bad crime groups. These guys were super tricky, using fake papers to move the stuff and the animals around. They even found out that some fancy fashion brands were using protected reptiles and sea creatures. Plus, some of these illegal items were being sold on the internet.
“Important and endangered animals, birds and plants are being put at risk of extinction by wildlife and timber traffickers. These appalling crimes not only deprive the world of unique animals and plants but also countries of their natural assets and resources,” Interpol’s big boss Jürgen Stock said. “The costs to communities are even greater … almost all environmental crime has links to other forms of crime including violence, corruption and financial crime.”