The Interpol Office of Environmental Security will be a center for the fight in Africa against international organizations, mainly dedicated to the illegal hunting of rhinos and elephants, for ivory, as well as lions and different species that are in sharp decline, due to the hunters.
"This initiative will allow Interpol to plan operations against organized crime networks, and we hope to offer strong support to the governments of East Africa mainly," said the head of the new unit, David Higgins.
Kenya and neighboring Tanzania are identified as the areas with the highest output of ivory, bound for the main Asian receiving black markets, in China, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2013, more than 50 tons of ivory were illegally traded, a historic record, according to the United Nations Environment Program.
The Interpol team created will depend on the Central Office, and will be immediately integrated into the “Project Wisdom” (Hope Project), which establishes environmental protection networks, in addition to actively fighting the growing problem regionally.
On the occasion of inaugurating the bureau, the British ambassador to Kenya, Christian Turner, said that his government will be deeply involved in pursuing poachers, as there are interests that go beyond the problem of wildlife.
"It is an issue that is not only affecting the conservation of the environment but also economic and security aspects, as these criminal networks use the same routes as drug traffickers and those who are dedicated to arms trafficking," he explained.
He also recalled that illegal hunting is killing more than 30,000 elephants each year in Africa and that the trend would continue this year, according to the Kenyan Wildlife Service, which requires urgent measures, since the natural recovery capacity of the species is insufficient to prevent its disappearance in the short term.