Thai Task Force takes down illegal “Noah’s Ark”
A raid conducted by the Thai Nature Crime Police and Department of National Parks, Wildlife & Plant Conservation has led to the discovery of over 200 live animals in a compound found in Kaeng Koi, in eastern Thailand on Thursday, which included numerous protected and exotic species.
Over 50 different species were found including kangaroos, red pandas, pumas, orangutans and white lions.
The authorities have detained three male suspects who were unable to produce any permit for keeping the animals, and will be charged at a later date.
“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 raid came after the discovery of an illegal wildlife slaughterhouse in Bangkok earlier last month where eight suspects were found amongst the remains of tigers, elephants and zebras intended for export to trophy collectors.
“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.”