IFAW training prompts massive wildlife confiscation in Caribbean
The accused parties reportedly received information that two men had arrived on the beach in a boat stacked to the brim with protected wildlife species from Venezuela. The officers then went to the beach and robbed the men at gunpoint. Over 500 bull finches, 300 picoplats, 400 pounds of wild meat, monkeys, parrots, macaws and other animals were taken.
As expected, the animals were kept in extremely unfit conditions, in cages barely big enough to turn around, or spread their wings.
The game wardens involved in making these arrests were trained in Trinidad & Tobago by wildlife trade experts at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) just over a year ago. Among the topics of the training were – how to spot and address wildlife crime and how to humanely confiscate and shelter the animals.
According to IFAW’s Wildlife Trade Program Director, Kelvin Alie, who was also a trainer at the 2007 Trinidad training, “This is a major victory for IFAW’s global Wildlife Law Enforcement Training Program and we are thrilled to have created an environment where wildlife officers are properly prepared for spotting and making these kinds of wildlife crime busts.”
Currently, the animals are being held at the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port-of-Spain. The fate of the birds and other species will rest on the verdict of the case. If the case is won, native species will be released into the wild.
This post was filed today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare's Colleen Cullen.