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Thai Authorities Seize 200 Wild Animals

A tiger was seized by police in a raid at an illegal animal farm in central Thailand. Police found more than 200 rare protected animals in the raid. Picture: Thai Nature Crime Police / AFP Source: AFP

 

CHIANGRAI TIMES – A multi-agency task force comprising Thai Nature Crime Police and Department of National Parks, Wildlife & Plant Conservation (DNP) officers raided a compound in Kaeng Koi, Saraburi Province, Eastern Thailand, earlier today, uncovering over 200 live animals including numerous protected and exotic species.

Authorities discovered over 50 different species, among them: five tigers, 13 lions, three pumas, three kangaroos, four flamingos, two crowned cranes, 66 marmosets, two orangutans, and two red pandas.

Three male suspects were detained at the location after failing to produce any permit to possess the animals. Authorities are now preparing to charge them and confiscate wildlife protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

White Lions were also Found in Raid

“This is the largest illegal wildlife supplier we’ve discovered,” said Royal Thai Police Major General Norasak Hemnithi, Commander of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NRECSD). “We know it’s part of an international criminal network importing protected animals from Africa, Canada and other countries, then breeding them for illegal sale,” he added.

The holding facility was discovered as authorities investigated leads from a raid on an illegal wildlife slaughterhouse in Bangkok just over a month ago (on February 5th), which made news worldwide. Eight suspects were detained that day after they were caught, literally red-handed, at a slaughterhouse in Bangkok’s Yannawa District cutting up tigers, elephants and zebras for meat and to make exotic trophies believed to be destined for export.

“The target today was running a virtual Noah’s Ark,” said Steven Galster of Freeland Foundation, which works closely with Thailand’s Task Force.  “Wildlife crime King Pins like this are starting to fall because good information is crossing from the private sector into the hands of skilled and passionate officers. Now let’s hope the courts back them up.”

Officers leading today’s raid have received training and support from Asia-based counter-trafficking group Freeland Foundation. Thailand’s Nature Crime Police and Department of National Parks, Wildlife & Plant Conservation are part of the multi-agency Thai Wildlife Enforcement Network (Thai-WEN), linked to other task forces in the region through the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN).

Thailand, a hub of international smuggling, is one of just 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations. Worldwide, numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago.

FREELAND is dedicated to making the world free of human slavery and wildlife trafficking by increasing law enforcement capacity, supporting vulnerable communities and raising awareness.

The multi-billion dollar illegal trade in protected species is one of the most lucrative illicit markets in the world today. Combined with habitat loss, it is driving many species towards extinction.

Unchecked nature crime not only ravages biodiversity, but the knock-on effects can unravel entire ecosystems. The loss of important watersheds and carbon sinks, for example, endangers human health and food security.

In addition, human trafficking targets vulnerable people for labour and sexual exploitation, destroying lives and tearing families apart. FREELAND believes a compassionate world is a world free of slavery.

FREELAND’s public awareness team is staffed by creative and inspired people.
Our collaborations with international advertising firm JWT, the Discovery Channel, CNN and other media outlets bring our messages to millions of people around the world, changing attitudes and encouraging political leaders to act.

Help them spread the word.

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