An international collaboration between law enforcement agencies and wildlife crime investigators including the London Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit, UK Border Force, East Java Police (Indonesia), Interpol and the Wildlife Crimes Unit (WCU) of WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has resulted in the arrest, conviction and sentencing of an illegal wildlife trader in London.
On 11 January 2016, George Bush of London, UK, was sentenced to 10 months in prison (suspended for two years) for selling body parts of protected wildlife online through the e-commerce website, eBay.
Discovered in Bush’s possession were more than 130 body parts of wildlife including two leopard skulls, four monkey heads, monkey hands and an infant crab-eating macaque skeleton.
Bush was arrested by the London Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit in January 2014 following a tip from the UK Border Force that he was selling body parts of imported protected species from Indonesia.
Following the arrest of Bush in January 2014, information was passed via United Kingdom National Crime Agency (UKNCA) & Interpol to the Indonesian police. Working with support from BKSDA (Natural Resource Conservation Agency) East Java, the police investigated and apprehended an illegal wildlife trader who was supplying Bush. From this trader, the police confiscated 315 kingfisher skeletons, peafowl feathers, deer and mouse deer skulls, stuffed marine turtles, up to 30 protected butterflies and 15 shipping invoices. WCS’s WCU monitored the trial of the suspect, provided supporting evidence that the trader was part of an international network, and facilitated communications between East Java Police and the Metropolitan Police.
Detective Constable Sarah Bailey from the Metropolitan Police said, “We encourage anyone who sees illegal wildlife trade, both offline and online, to contact the police immediately. We continue to strive to combat illegal wildlife trade since it threatens many species’ survival. On behalf of the Metropolitan Police, I’d like to thank the UK NCA, the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, Interpol and the Indonesian police for the role they played in securing this conviction.”
Dr Noviar Andayani, Country Director of WCS‘s Indonesia Program, said, “This case is an excellent example of the Indonesian and British police forces working together to tackle transboundary illegal wildlife trade and protecting Indonesia’s threatened wildlife. We also appreciate the efforts of Interpol in identifying the Indonesian suppliers of the wildlife specimens.”
WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit is supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, Fondation Segré, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Multinational Species Conservation Funds, AZA Tiger Species Survival Plan’s Tiger Conservation Campaign, and the UK Government's IWT Challenge Fund
WCS is a member of United for Wildlife, a partnership of the world’s leading wildlife conservation organizations that was created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The partnership, led by the Duke of Cambridge, is actively engaged with working to stop wildlife trafficking.