Skip to main content
Blog post

Interpol Detains 66 Ivory Traffickers in African Operation


Spanish Translation of the Week

An Interpol operation against ivory trafficking in five countries in East and Central Africa resulted in the detention of 66 individuals and the seizure of 4,000 pieces of ivory and 50 elephant tusks, the police organization said today.

Arms and cash were also seized during this international operation, which took place between January and May in the Central African Republic, the Ivory Coast, Congo, Guinea, and Liberia, Interpol said in its statement.

"París (EFE). Una operación contra el tráfico de marfil dirigida por Interpol y llevada a cabo en cinco países del centro y el oeste de África permitió la detención de 66 personas, así como la incautación de casi 4.000 piezas de ese material y 50 colmillos de elefante, informó hoy el organismo policial.

Durante esta operación internacional que se llevó a cabo de enero a mayo pasados en la República Centroafricana, Costa de Marfil, Congo, Guinea y Liberia, también se requisaron armas de uso militar y dinero en efectivo, destacó Interpol en un comunicado." 

This article has been translated from Spanish. Click here to read the original version on El

At the same time, they were able to recover 148 animal parts and 222 living animals, including crocodiles and parrots, which were returned to their natural habitats. The operation, codenamed "Wendi," involved wildlife protection authorities, police, customs agents, and authorities in illegal trafficking, as well as some businesspeople and private individuals. Interpol also received support from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

"The increase in elephant poaching and the trafficking of elephant ivory required a strong response," said David Higgins, the man responsible for Interpol's program against environmental crime. Higgins emphasized that "breaking up this crime at its origin, in transit, and at its destination, is key to dismantling criminal networks that harm wildlife and the environment.

Operation "Wendi" is a part of Project Wisdom, designed to bolster the capacity for conversation of elephants and rhinoceroses by fostering communication, cooperation, and collaboration in international investigations. Illegal trafficking in ivory and other wildlife products was the subject of an Interpol meeting last November.

Article translated by Joshua Lacey, Staff Intern for the African Program at the Wilson Center

Photo attributed to Brittany H, on Flickr Commons

Related Program

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more