The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
INTERPOL Hails 'Spectacular' 92-Country Sting Against Wildlife Crime
The month-long "Operation Thunderstorm" took place in May and involved the cooperation of law enforcement and conservation agencies from 92 countries, resulting in 1,974 seizures worth millions of dollars.
Seizures to date include:
- 43 tonnes of wild meat (including bear, elephant, crocodile, whale and zebra)
- 1.3 tonnes of raw and processed elephant ivory 27,000 reptiles (including 869 alligators/crocodiles, 9,590 turtles and 10,000 snakes)
- Almost 4,000 birds, including pelicans, ostriches, parrots and owls
- Several tonnes of wood and timber
- 48 live primates
- 14 big cats (tiger, lion, leopard and jaguar)
- The carcasses of seven bears, including two polar bears
The sting also resulted in eight tonnes of pangolin scales seized worldwide, including almost four tonnes by Vietnamese maritime authorities on board a ship arriving from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Additionally, Canadian authorities intercepted a container holding 18 tonnes of eel meat arriving from Asia.
"The results are spectacular," Sheldon Jordan, Canada's director general of wildlife enforcement, said.
Jordan noted that global wildlife crime is worth about $150 billion annually, and is the fourth largest black market after the illegal drug trade, counterfeiting and human trafficking.
INTERPOL's operation also identified some 1,400 suspects, triggering arrests and investigations worldwide, the agency said.
Those arrested include two flight attendants in Los Angeles for attempting to smuggle live spotted turtles to Asia in their personal baggage, as well as a man in Israel who was arrested after posting a hunting photograph on social media, which led to a raid in his home and the seizure of fox, jackal, mongoose bodies and other wildlife items. The suspect was also engaged in people smuggling and illegal employment, a follow-up investigation revealed.
"Operation Thunderstorm has seen significant seizures at global level, showing how coordinated global operations can maximize impact," said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock in a statement.
"By revealing how wildlife trafficking groups use the same routes as criminals involved in other crime areas—often hand in hand with tax evasion, corruption, money laundering and violent crime—Operation Thunderstorm sends a clear message to wildlife criminals that the world's law enforcement community is homing in on them," Stock added.
- What's Happening to the North Atlantic Right Whale Is Just Plain ... ›
- Oregon Has a Poaching Problem—and a Force to Reckon With It ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.
By Jeff Turrentine
Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?