HomeNewsBriefBrazil Cracks Down on Animal Trafficking
BRIEF

Brazil Cracks Down on Animal Trafficking

BRAZIL / 19 JUL 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Brazil's Federal Police have conducted operations in conjunction with Interpol to seize hundreds of illegally owned animals, a reminder of the scale of animal trafficking in the country.

Last week, federal police seized over 100 birds in João Pessoa, Paraiba state, and hundreds of birds and tortoises in Salvador, Bahia state, both in the northeast. The operation, which also involved Brazil's Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), yielded at least one arrest, a person illegally in possession of over 60 animals.

A Rio Grande do Sul state police operation saw the arrest of four on poaching and weapons charges. In addition to the arrests, authorities seized over 100 dead animals and nine rifles. Another state military police operation in the interior of Bahia state turned up 199 birds, 30 traps, and four arrests.

InSight Crime Analysis

Animal trafficking is a serious criminal enterprise. A 2011 investigation by UK newspaper the Independent estimates its scale at over £6 billion a year ($9 billion), outstripped globally only by drug and arms trafficking. Its potential for profit may be driving links to drug traffickers -- a 2001 report (see pdf) by the Brazilian Network to Combat Wild Animal Trafficking (Renctas), a Brasilia-based NGO, noted links between drug and animal traffickers, like the use of animals as drug mules.

The illegal trade in animals and their products is a major problem for Brazil, due to its vast ecological heritage. For example, according to the Independent's report, the world population of a blue Brazilian parrot known as Lear's Macaw has dropped to under 1,000 -- it was selling for $90,000 a head in 2008. Overall, as the R7 news website reported, Brazil authorities estimate that some 12 million wild animals are caught illegally each year in the country: mostly birds, but also monkeys, turtles and jaguars, among others.

Brazil has been making moves to combat illegal trade in its ecological resources; the country has employed unmanned drones to enforce environmental legislation, and President Dilma Rousseff recently vetoed sections of a controversial law that some feared would worsen deforestation and strengthen animal trafficking networks.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 3 AUG 2022

Dozens of dead fishermen have been unloaded at Uruguay's Montevideo port. Vessels that dock there have been alleged to engage…

COLOMBIA / 7 APR 2021

Illegal gold mining is devastating South America's jungles. The trade has been destroying large swaths of forest and flooding rivers…

BRAZIL / 8 APR 2022

Residents of Brazil's largest open-air drug market may have permanently relocated amidst renewed police interventions and the possible orders of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…