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Authorities unmask illegal trade of products made from protected animals

Photo: pixabay.com.
Nature Protection Office and State Police have stepped up their efforts to increase control over trade of products made from endangered and protected species in the past month. Authorities have already confiscated different goods made from animals protected in Latvia and the world.

During searches organized by State Police’s Criminal Police Office and Economic Crimes Prevention Office, authorities confiscated goods made from African elephant, brown bear and European otter worth a total of EUR 2,500. Experts explain that the value of those goods tends to grow several times in their realization markets – Western Europe and Asia.

Police have launched a criminal process for illegal trade of European otter fur. As for elephant tusks and brown bear fur – authorities have commenced an administrative violation process.

Nature Protection Office and State Police remind that trade of endangered and protected animals, as well as products made from them, is prohibited. It is also prohibited to trade animals protected by CITES convention.

Jēkabs Dzenis, head of CITES office in Latvia, explains that the ban also applies to products made from animals protected by this convention. This also applies to situations when products are acquired from species raised in captivity or if products were acquired many years ago.

«Only thanks to CITES it has been possible to save many different species from extinction. In addition, considering the association between illegal wild animal trade with international organized crime networks and armed groups, effective realization of CITES plays a major role in resolving socio-economic and security problems not only for endangered animals’ countries of origin but also other countries around the world,» says the office.

Chief inspector of State Police’s Criminal Police Office’s Economic Crimes Prevention Office Andrejs Zeļenkovs reminds: «Before purchasing exotic goods, animals or reptiles, residents should turn to authorities to find out additional information on this kind of trade and if any additional documents are needed. Lack of knowledge does not save from responsibility.»


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