10 February 2014: As delegates prepare for the London Conference to be held from 12th to the 13th of February 2014, where Fifty nations including world leaders have been invited to discuss the growing threat posed by illegal wildlife trade to global security and the survival of species, Mr. Bonaventure EBAYI, Director of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, (LATF), has welcomed the commendable results achieved by Operation Cobra II, a month long transnational joint operation coordinated by LATF between 30th December 2013 to 26th January 2014 to combat illegal wildlife trade. The results of Operation Cobra II bring to light practical measures that can be achieved as a result of international cooperation to reduce the increasing scourge of illegal wildlife trade.
Operation Cobra II brought together Customs, police and wildlife authorities to combat wildlife crime in Botswana, Brunei-Darussalam, Burundi, Cambodia, China including Hong Kong SAR, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, USA, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Mr. Ebayi reiterated the importance of the global cooperative operation initiative in bringing together source, transit and destination countries of wildlife contrabands to ensure that the entire criminal chain was uncovered and dismantled.
The Operation focused on some key species of fauna and flora or their products and derivatives that are targeted for their lucrative demand, such as elephants, rhinos, pangolins, big cats, Great Apes, Tibetan Antelopes, turtles, tortoises, and birds. The Operation resulted in significant wildlife seizures, arrest and prosecution of suspects as well as best practices among the participating authorities across range, transit and destination countries working together in a coordinated manner.
LATF greatly appreciates the generous financial support to the Operation afforded by various agencies and organizations including the U.S. State Department Bureau of Narcotics and International Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the US Fish and Wildlife Service, China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) implemented by the Canadian Government, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and participating countries. The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), FREELAND Foundation – an international counter-trafficking organization and LATF mobilized the financial support and provided the logistical and training support as well as intelligence information on wildlife trafficking syndicates.
Download the Press Release