Wildlife Watch

Crime Blotter: Tiger Fangs, Ivory, and More

A weekly roundup of wildlife crimes.

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Tigers are poached for their teeth, skins, and bones. 


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

FANG STEALING: Malaysia’s Terengganu Wildlife Department has stepped up the hunt for two people accused of removing two fangs from a tiger that died after being hit by a vehicle, reports Daily Express, a newspaper in East Malaysia. A photo of the two suspects with the tiger went viral, the publication notes. Stealing the fangs violates the Wildlife Conservation Act, said the department’s director, Mohd Hasdi Husin.

IVORY SMUGGLING: A New York-based antiques dealer pleaded guilty to smuggling $141,000 worth of ivory from a Canadian auction house into the U.S., reports National Geographic. He also illegally traded other wildlife products, such as a narwhal tusk, a hippo ivory carving, and a carved coral figurine. The man faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for violating the Lacey Act, a law that makes it a crime to trade in illegally acquired wildlife product.

POACHER SHOOTOUT: Police fatally shot a suspected poacher at Mazunga Ranch near Beitbridge, a town in southern Zimbabwe, according to the Zimbabwe Daily. Police recovered two hunters’ knives and a silencer from the victim. His alleged accomplice escaped.

ILLEGAL LOGGING: A court in Pursat province, in western Cambodia, charged two men with illegal logging inside the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary, reports The Cambodian Daily. The crime carries a penalty of five to ten years in prison, the publication notes. The duo claimed they were hired to do the job, but their alleged boss hasn’t been found.

BIRD HUNTING: A forest protection squad in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu arrested four people suspected of illegally hunting a total of 37 pintail ducks and glossy ibises, two migratory bird species, according to The Hindu. Interrogation of the suspects revealed that they hunted the birds to sell them to hotels and bars. 

TIMBER SEIZURE: Enforcement officers in eastern Malaysia’s Koto Samarahan confiscated 650 sawn timber “of various sizes and species,” says Borneo Post Online. The raid followed a tip-off, said the state Forest Department’s director, Sapuan Ahmad.

ILLEGAL FISHING: The Indonesian maritime authority seized seven ships with Malaysian flags for allegedly illegally fishing with trawls in the Melaka Strait, reports the Borneo Post Online. The ships are believed to belong to Malaysian businessmen and be operated by Indonesian migrant workers. 

Fact of the Week: Parts of more than 1,400 tigers were seized across Asia between 2000 and 2012, according to a report by TRAFFIC, which monitors wildlife trade. 

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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