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Wildlife Watch

Crime Blotter: Rhino Horn, Lion Claws, a Gazelle, and More

A weekly roundup of wildlife crimes.

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Police arrested three people for allegedly poaching a gazelle in the Persian Gulf state of Oman.


Every Sunday, Wildlife Watch notes some of the previous week’s wildlife crime busts and convictions around the world.

GAZELLE AND BIRD POACHING: Police in the Persian Gulf state of Oman arrested seven people accused of poaching wildlife, reports Gulf News Oman. Authorities found two falcons and four slaughtered birds hidden in the vehicle of four of the accused. The other three are suspected of poaching a gazelle.

RHINO HORN POSSESSION: Authorities arrested two men in Mombasa, Kenya, after catching them with rhino horns, says Xinhua News Agency. The Kenya Wildlife Service’s lead investigator, Gideon Kebati, said he suspects the two are part of a cartel of professional poachers hired by kingpins.

WILDLIFE POACHING: Thirteen people have been arrested in connection with wildlife poaching in the Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, near Mumbai, India, according to Indian publication Mid Day. The accused admitted that they intended to kill a wild boar, the story notes.

CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION: The wildlife department in the Indian city of Kolhapur has begun investigations into the role of three forest officials, reports The Times of India. They’re accused of covering up the alleged poaching of a barking deer in the Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary.

WILDLIFE SEIZURE: Forest range officers seized “huge quantities of wildlife carcasses” from vehicles coming from Daporijo, Ziro, Chambang, and other towns in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, according to the Arunachal Times. The carcasses were detected during an unannounced checkpoint, conducted to prevent people from hunting illegally.

TURTLE SMUGGLING: During the past three months, police arrested 60 people across India suspected of smuggling and trading turtles, reports the Hindustan Times. It’s believed to be one of the largest wildlife smuggling rackets in the country in recent times, triggered by the arrest of two alleged turtle traders in North Kolkata in August.

WILDLIFE BURNING: The Mozambican police incinerated 233 pounds of ivory, 35 pounds of rhino horn, and six pounds of lion claws seized between August and December in the port of Maputo and Maputo International Airport, according to AllAfrica. Authorities have detained 11 Mozambicans, three Somalis, two Ethiopians, and a Vietnamese in connection with those products and narcotics, which were also burned.

PANGOLIN HORDING: Police busted a man in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Duong for possessing 11 pangolins he’s suspected of planning to sell for their meat, says Thanhnien News. A few days earlier, authorities caught two of the man’s nephews carrying three pangolins, which led to the subsequent arrest. 

Fact of the Week: The network for wildlife crime in India has become increasingly sophisticated, according to The Wildlife Protection Society of India, particularly in states such as Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh.

This story was produced by National Geographic’s Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on wildlife crime and is made possible by grants from the BAND Foundation and the Woodtiger Fund. Read more stories from the SIU on Wildlife Watch. Send tips, feedback and story ideas to ngwildlife@ngs.org

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