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article imageBrazil: Massive illegal traffic of endangered fauna disrupted

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 5, 2010 in Crime
Curitiba - Brazilian Federal Police uncovered last week the largest operation in the country dedicated to the illegal traffic of protected animals. About ten thousand captive live animals, mostly birds, were recovered.
“Operation San Francisco” began eight months ago and resulted in the arrest of Marcio Rodrigues, the alleged leader of the group, who was reportedly being assisted by several former and current police and environmental officials from the State of Paraná which are being charged as facilitators or the illicit activities, reported Parana-Online (in Portuguese). Arrests warrants were issued for 32 people involved, 29 of them are already in custody in three Brazilian States: Paraná, Sao Paulo and Santa Catarina. There are international orders for the arrest of additional members of the gang including a Brazilian man living in Australia and a Dutchman from Amsterdam.
Rodrigues did not have approval from the Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment's enforcement agency to operate a facility located on a farm in St. Joseph of the Pines, in the metropolitan region of Curitiba, Paraná. More than 10,000 animals were seized and will be sent to sorting centers of IBAMA and hopefully returned to their original locations. Some of the animals had been imported to Brazil from abroad and will be repatriated. The group was holding auctions for the local sale of animals. The usual price for a Hyacinth Macaw, the largest flying parrot species in the world, was BRL$150,000 (about US$82,000).
The gang was managing a very complex international operation that included traffic of birds from other parts of the world to Brazil and Brazilian fauna to Europe and Australia. The group favoured the transport of bird’s eggs that were concealed close to the body of the person carrying them and often hatched shortly before delivery at the destination.
Pantanal of Mato Grosso  Brazil.
Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil.
The group was also operating two front money laundering companies: a factory and a retail shop for cleaning products. The Federal Police will proceed with the investigation and will collect testimonies from the accused to fully clarify the complete scheme of the international trafficking of exotic animals. So far, Rodrigues is being charged for illegal trafficking of protected Brazilian fauna and of exotic species in the country without authorization, conspiracy, reception of stolen goods, and forgery of public documents, money laundering and the operation of a financial institution without a license.
The Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), an important target of the illegal operation disrupted by Brazilian Federal Police, is an endangered species, endemic of the Pantanal region of Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay. The total wild population of this parrot is estimated at about 3000 birds. Its decline is the result of habitat loss and capture for the illegal pet trade. The hyacinth macaw is protected by law in Brazil and international trade is prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
In yellow  location of The Pantanal Region  shared by Brazil  Paraguay and Bolivia. This is habitat ...
In yellow, location of The Pantanal Region, shared by Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. This is habitat of the endangered Hyacinth Macaw.
(Note: No English language sources could be located for this news. Sources are media in Portuguese and Spanish (BBC)).
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