Hundreds of protected birds freed from traffickers’ claws

Raptors, like this falcon rehabilitated at the IFAW raptor rescue center in Beijing, were seized from an international trafficking ring in France and Belgium. A criminal network trafficking thousands of endangered birds has been dismantled in France and Belgium.

Following a surveillance operation of several months by investigators of the National Office for the Prevention of Environmental Damage and Public Health, enforcement agents of the ONCFS (National Hunting and Wildlife Board) seized cages, snares, nets, falsified marking rings, and hundreds of birds.

These wild birds ranged from small species (European Goldfinch, Eurasian bullfinch, Bluethroat, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Hoopoe, Red-billed leiothrix) to large raptors (Eurasian sparrowhawk, Golden eagle).

Four individuals were indicted; they are facing each up to seven years of imprisonment and a 750,000 Euro fine.

After the terrible news of the rhino shot for its horn in a zoo near Paris, this is yet another hard blow for protected species conservation in the region. When will we finally get stronger national and European regulations for the protection of endangered species?


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy