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Wildlife Watch News

Crime Blotter: Pythons, Wolf Carcasses, and More

A weekly roundup of wildlife crimes.

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Green tree pythons, which are popular in the pet trade, are found in Papau New Guinea, Australia, and Indonesia. 


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

WOLF SMUGGLING: Police in Kinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwestern China, arrested an undisclosed number of people attempting to import illegal wolf parts, reports the Daily Mail. Authorities nabbed the gang at the Takeshenken border checkpoint, about nine miles from the Chinese-Mongolian border. A total of 148 wolf skins, six carcasses, and a number of animal organs were discovered.

WILDLIFE MEDLEY: Authorities seized 350 pounds of meat from wild pig , red muntjac deer, slow loris, and jungle cat, as well as a live Bengal monitor lizard from the Strung Treng market in northeastern Cambodia, says The Phnom Penh Post. In a separate case, more than 220 pounds of illegal meat were confiscated from a home in Banlung, in the same part of the country.

REPTILE TRAFFICKING: A sting operation led to the bust of two Indonesians operating an online wildlife trafficking business since 2012, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian authorities tipped off Indonesian police, who pretended to be potential customers and later found the duo in possession of 30 green tree pythons, three emerald tree monitors, a blue-tailed lizard, a frilled-neck lizard, a peach-throated monitor, and a yellow monitor. A spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police said customers of the pair, who were sentenced to five years in prison, included Australian residents.

IVORY CONFISCATION: Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo arrested three suspected traffickers and confiscated 66 pounds of ivory tusks and ornaments in their possession, announced the World Wildlife Fund, which says it supported the operation. The organization says that last year, the country was reprimanded by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), the body that sets wildlife trade policy, for not acting fast enough to create a plan to combat ivory trafficking.

ILLEGAL FISHING: Authorities in Senegal have detained a ship that’s suspected of poaching Patagonian toothfish, reports Phuket Gazette. The ship was originally apprehended in Phuket, Thailand, but escaped. It allegedly falsely reported offloading 182 tons of illegally caught Patagonian toothfish, valued at more than $5 million, as 182 tons of grouper, valued at $420,000.

Fact of the Week: Green tree pythons can be found in Papau New Guinea, Australia, and Indonesia. They can be traded internationally if accompanied by an export permit.

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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