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Wildlife Watch

Crime Blotter: Dwarf Leopards, Parakeets, and More

A weekly roundup of wildlife crimes.

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An ocelot, also known as a dwarf leopard, in Brazil. 


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

ELEPHANT POACHING (and a shootout): Zimbabwe’s wildlife authorities say rangers recovered 22 elephant tusks after a shootout with 11 suspected poachers, ABC News reports. No one was killed and all of the suspects, who are believed to be Zambian, escaped.

PARAKEET POACHING: Police seized 17 baby parakeets while they were being illegally transported from Chennai, in South India, to Mysuri, the Bangalore Mirror says. Police believe poachers uprooted the birds from their mothers and habitat to supply the illegal bird trade. Caretakers are trying to nurse the babies back to health.

BAYA WEAVER POSSESSION: Police in Perak, located in northern peninsular Malaysia, arrested two men and seized nearly 1,500 baya weavers, announced TRAFFIC, which monitors wildlife. The birds are native to Malaysia and protected under the country’s Wildlife Conservation Act of 2010. It’s the largest incident of its kind involving baya weavers in recent years.

DWARF LEOPARD SALES: Two people were convicted of wildlife trafficking and sentenced to three years of prison in Lima, Peru, according to Peru This Week. The pair were arrested after attempting to sell a dwarf leopard, also called an ocelot, in the city. The publication says that in Peru, only authorized zookeepers can sell wild animals.

TIGER POACHING: Indian authorities arrested two people accused of poaching tigers in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in the State of Bihar, Nyooz reports. Police recovered complete skins and bones of two fully grown royal Bengal tigers, which are endangered, from their possession.

ILLEGAL FISHING: Enforcement officers in Turks and Caicos nabbed ten people accused of illegal fishing, according to Turks and Caicos Weekly News. They were found with illegal spear guns, breathing apparatuses, and more than 200 pounds of illegal catch, including parrot fish and Nassau grouper. It’s illegal to fish or possess Nassau grouper during the closed season, the publication reports.

Fact of the Week: From 2012 to 2015, authorities reported that 739 baya weavers, famed for their hanging nests shaped from woven leaves, were seized, according to TRAFFIC. One trader caught illegally selling baya weavers in 2014 said the species is thought to bring good fortune to its owner.

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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