An international, China-led operation called Cobra II has seized huge quantities of rare wildlife products and marked the first time Beijing authorities have arrested a wildlife crime suspect overseas.
During the month-long effort, involving dozens of countries and organizations, over three tons of ivory was confiscated, as well as 36 rhino horns, 10,000 live eels and pig-nosed turtles, more than 1,000 hides and skins from tigers and leopards plus several hundred kilograms of pangolin scales.
The operation, which ended on Jan. 26, also saw Kenyan authorities extradite a Chinese national suspected of running a criminal ivory trading network from Nairobi.
China, the world’s leading market for ivory, has been under pressure to take more action against the illegal wildlife trade, and appears to have significantly increased efforts. Cobra II follows last month’s destruction of a 6.15-ton stockpile of seized ivory.