Saturday, 18 October 2014

IFAW partner Interpol on the hunt for suspected Kenyan ivory smuggler

Interpol, the world's largest international police organization is cracking down on wildlife criminals. Just this week, they issued a red notice alert – similar to an international arrest warrant - for suspected Kenyan ivory trafficker Feizal Ali Mohamed. He is accused of being the mastermind behind the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants in Kenya.

In June Kenya Police issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with a seizure in Mombasa including 228 tusks and 74 ivory pieces with a total weight of more than two tonnes. Feizal Ali Mohomed escaped arrest and has been a fugitive ever since. If convicted, he could face life imprisonment or fines of at least 20 million shillings or US$224,000.

"This red notice is a good move to protect elephants. We need to get to the kingpins to end the ivory trade," said IFAW CEO Azzedine Downes. "INTERPOL can undertake enforcement operations in source, transit and end-user countries, which complements IFAW's strategy to combat wildlife crime."

In May 2013 International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was the first non-governmental organization to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Interpol's Environmental Crime Program. The two have collaborated on numerous projects since 2005 including Interpol's largest-ever illegal ivory trade operation in 2012. The organizations joined forces to combat global wildlife crime, especially crime related to the illegal killing of and trafficking in elephant, rhinoceros and tiger parts.

As one of the world's most lucrative criminal activities, valued at US$19-billion annually, illegal wildlife trade ranks fifth globally in terms of value, behind the trafficking in drugs, people, oil and counterfeiting.
Most illegal ivory is destined for Asia, in particular China, where it has soared in value as an investment vehicle and is coveted as "white gold". Availability of legal ivory in China purchased form the stockpile sale in southern Africa in 2008 has, in turn, boosted demand encouraging illegal ivory trade and the poaching of elephant to meet market needs.

As part of a worldwide capacity building initiative IFAW trains law enforcement officers in wildlife trafficking prevention in several countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean

The IFAW report, Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, documents the threat the illegal trade poses to animals like elephants and rhinos, and also people. The learn more about the illegal ivory trade, download IFAW's digital magazine Unveiling the Ivory Trade

SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare

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