The following is a statement from Susan Lieberman, WCS VP of International Policy:

“The Wildlife Conservation Society applauds the World Customs Organization (WCO) and INTERPOL for its coordinated Operation Thunderball, arresting hundreds of wildlife crime suspects across 109 countries and with more than 1800 seizures of animal and animal parts including big cats, elephant tusks and ivory, rhino horns, birds, reptiles, primates and much more. 

“This massive disruption of criminal networks is key to saving endangered wildlife across the globe. But seizures and arrests are only the first step—governments now must follow up with strong, meaningful prosecutions. In particular, the criminals running these networks must feel the full weight of the law, including deterrent penalties and jail sentences.”

“Next month at the CITES CoP18 in Geneva, countries will gather to determine the fate of many of the world’s endangered and threatened flora and fauna, particularly those subject to the scourge of poaching and trafficking. WCS urges governments to use today’s news, which underscores the worldwide scope of wildlife crime, to drive strong decisions to do even more to protect species around the world from the ravages of the illegal wildlife trade, from the elephants of Africa to the saiga antelope of the steppes of Asia.”

Read full WCO and Interpol news release here:

MEDIA NOTE: Dr. Lieberman is available for interview.  Please call or text +1 908 247 2585 for more info