Huge haul of endangered species smuggled into UK

Roshina Jowaheer
Operation Cobra 3
Operation Cobra 3



A huge variety of animals and other illegal items have been seized at airports during Operation Cobra 3, a six-week global operation to prevent the illegal movement of endangered species.

British authorities have confiscated items including a chameleon in a handbag, a polar bear skin in luggage, 11 black bear claws, 23 orchid and cacti, 157 health supplements derived from endangered species and 57 ivory products.

Live animals seized included 166 turquoise blue geckos, 10,000 sea horses, 400 Horsefield tortoises, as well as scorpions and other insects in postal packages that were described as appearing "fairly regularly".


Snakes in the Post - Endangered Species Seized in Trade Crackdown
Snakes in the Post - Endangered Species Seized in Trade Crackdown


The UK is an important transit hub for smugglers of products that come from endangered animals.

Border Force's Grant Miller told BT.com: "I see ivory being shipped out of Africa, it transits through logistical hubs in the UK and going on to China.

"Rhino horn being trafficked to Vietnam, iguanas being trafficked to Europe but through the UK airports and Heathrow in particular."

Operation Cobra 3
Operation Cobra 3



Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Mr Miller said: "We must do something to control this barbaric trade.

"It's not just iconic species like rhinos and elephants but the frogs, reptiles, tortoises, plants, timbers, the great forests.

"We have natural resources across the world that we need to preserve."



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