INTERPOL AND THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF CANADA WORKING TOGETHER TO COMBAT WILDLIFE TRAFFICKERS

interpolaward_sm.jpgVANCOUVER, APRIL 22/09 – Last November, Operation Baba, a five-country law enforcement operation in Africa co-ordinated by INTERPOL with the support of The Humane Society of Canada and other dedicated groups, resulted in the arrest of 57 people and the seizure of one ton of illegal elephant ivory. The one-day sweep targeted more than 50 locations, including local ivory markets, airports, border crossings and smuggling points involving more than 300 law enforcement officers from police, customs, national wildlife and national intelligence agencies in Congo (Brazzaville), Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, and represented the largest-ever international wildlife law enforcement operation conducted in Africa.

“We are proud to continue with our longstanding relationship with INTERPOL as they continue with their worldwide crackdown on these international organized crime syndicates,” says HSC Regional Director Al Hickey. Once these syndicates discover a successful pipeline, they often work with others to smuggle contraband, weapons, drugs and people.

Illegal domestic ivory markets have been persistently identified as a major factor in continued poaching of elephants and illegal trade in ivory. Operation Baba was named to honour the memory of Gilbert Baba, a Ghana Wildlife Department ranger who was murdered by illegal wildlife dealers a decade ago.

“Day after day, these wildlife rangers are on the front lines of animal protection, facing wildlife traffickers armed with automatic weapons, high tech gear, and the fastest planes, four wheel drive vehicles and boats – all bought and paid for with the lives of vanishing wildlife and the lives of rangers killed in the field ,” says HSC Chairman & CEO Michael O’Sullivan, a veteran of undercover work in Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world.

“And when they fall in action, the rangers’ wives and children are left behind to fend for themselves. That’s why we set up The Ranger Fund in cooperation with INTERPOL to try and provide the families of these fallen heroes with support to buy food, clothing, shelter and medical care,” explains O’Sullivan.

“Operation Baba is the first in a series of operations of this nature being planned worldwide, and we will work alongside INTERPOL and our law enforcement colleagues around the world every step of the way,” promises O’Sullivan.

Later this year, The Humane Society of Canada will bestow its prestigious Heroes for Animals Award to INTERPOL for its tireless efforts to combat wildlife traffickers worldwide.

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 187 member nations. Created in 1923, and headquartered in Lyons, France, the agency facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime. A list of the member countries can be found here

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

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