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Home » Border Force Seize Big Cat Body Parts And Crocodile Blood

Border Force Seize Big Cat Body Parts And Crocodile Blood

Image source, Home Office

Image caption, The Home Office seized clothes and accessories made from snakeskin

By Andre Rhoden-Paul

BBC News

Thousands of illegal wildlife products, including crocodile blood, big cat body parts and rhino horns, have been seized in an operation by UK Border Force.

Clothes and accessories made from turtle shell, snakeskin and ivory were also among the 145 seizures in October, the Home Office said.

More than 50 live birds were also among the illegal wildlife products.

The UK seizures were part of a global operation across more than 133 countries that led to 500 arrests.

Consumer products containing cactus, orchid and caviar were found, alongside more than 300kg of ivory.

Thousands of turtle eggs, 30 tonnes of plants, as well as primates, birds and marine species were also discovered.

The Home Office has been asked about the number of UK arrests linked to the action, known as Operation Thunder.

Minister for legal migration and delivery Tom Pursglove said: “The illegal wildlife trade is driven by criminal gangs and threatens species with extinction, fuels corruption, and deprives the world’s poorest communities of sustainable livelihoods.

“Border Force plays a leading global role in eradicating this damaging illegal trade and our recent successes under Operation Thunder are proof of this.”

The Home Office said it wants to help protect the overall decline of nature and meet the government’s target of protecting 30% of nature by 2030 – which was agreed internationally at a UN summit.

It comes a month after an MP’s bill, supported by ministers, to ban the import of hunting trophies into the UK struggled to get through the House of Lords, where it faced opposition and ran out of time.

Some peers had raised concerns that the legislation could affect tourism in Africa.

The proposals would have stopped hunters bringing back body parts of thousands of species – a commitment in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.

Image source, Home Office

Image caption, Border Force seized a rostrum, or nose extension, from a sawfish

Wildlife crime is believed to be worth up to £17bn globally a year and is the fourth-largest international crime, according to Interpol who co-led the global operation with the World Customs Organisation.

The Born Free charity, which campaigns to end the wildlife trade, said trafficking was closely tied to corruption, fraud and money laundering.

Dr Mark Jones, the organisation’s head of policy, said: “With so much of the world’s wildlife in crisis, it’s vital that our enforcement agencies are properly resourced to enable this essential and highly specialised work to continue.”