Illegal Ivory - Operation Costa

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by AFRICAN INDABA, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. AFRICAN INDABA

    AFRICAN INDABA CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Illegal Ivory - Operation Costa


    More than two tons of illegal ivory have been seized and more than 100 people have been arrested in the largest international operation targeting wildlife crime across Eastern Africa.

    The simultaneous operation was initiated as a result of a request made to INTERPOL by African elephant range states to help the continent deal with illegal elephant killings. Planning started in July 2009 for Operation Costa, the second in an ongoing series of multi-lateral cooperative operations against the illegal ivory trade.

    It was coordinated by INTERPOL across six African countries led to the arrest of dozens of suspected illegal wildlife dealers, including 65 in Kenya. Authorities seized 567.8 kilograms of carved and raw items of ivory. This is in addition to the 532 kg earlier seized at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport during the initial phases of this operation, bringing the total to 1099.8 kg. Code-named Operation Costa, in honor of the late Costa Mlay, a former Tanzanian wildlife director who set high standards of professionalism and integrity in wildlife conservation, it involved officers from police, national wildlife, customs and national intelligence agencies across six countries - Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

    Operation Costa clearly shows the ability and will of law enforcement to effectively tackle wildlife crime. Operation Costa will also enable law enforcement both in Africa and further afield to identify the routes being used by smugglers, their connections and ultimately lead to the arrest of other individuals involved in these crimes.

    Operation Costa was coordinated by the INTERPOL General Secretariat, based in Lyon, France, and involved the participation of agencies that are members of the INTERPOL Working Group on Wildlife Crime. Support was also provided by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, created in 1994 by governments in the region as a mechanism for regional co-operation to fight illegal trade in wild animals and plants. Bonventure Ebayi, the head of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, a regional body that coordinates the enforcement work of African wildlife authorities, said other countries involved in the investigation are also still compiling the list of illegal animal products seized.

    Hundreds of staff from the police, customs, wildlife agencies, national intelligence agencies and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force were involved in the operation across the six countries. The German federal government, as part of the INTERPOL General Secretariat Project OASIS initiative, provided funding to support the operations.
  2. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ..Thumbs up to the law enforcement agencies involved in this sting in Africa! It' s definitely a move in the right direction & hopefully they will keep up the hard work and curtail these illegal sales & possibly cut down on the poaching of these animals!!

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