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Friday, March 5, 2021

Interpol turns up heat on smuggler accused of flying giraffes to Qatar

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Giraffe

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

International authorities have renewed their hunt for a Pakistani fugitive who illegally brought live giraffes and antelopes to Qatar from Tanzania.

Late last week, Interpol said it had launched a new operation targeting suspects wanted for environmental crimes such as illegal fishing, logging and wildlife trafficking. Among the 139 fugitives sought by the global police agency is Ahmed Kamran, a Pakistani man who is suspected of coordinating an animal smuggling operation in 2010.

With the help of three accomplices, Kamlan is alleged to have paid for the transportation of wildlife aboard a military plane that flew the live animals from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Qatar.

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It’s the first time an operation targeting individuals specifically wanted for crimes concerning the environment has been launched by Interpol, which is asking the public to contact authorities with information that could help it locate the suspects.

“Even the smallest detail, which you might think is insignificant, has the potential to break a case wide open when combined with other evidence the police already have,” said Ioannis Kokkinis, an Interpol criminal intelligence officer, in a statement. “Sometimes all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes to bring new momentum to an investigation and provide the missing clue which will help locate these wanted individuals, some of whom have been evading justice for years,” he added.

Delivery to Qatar

While the fate of the animals that came to Qatar in 2010 is unclear, the incident was an embarrassment for Tanzania. The African country fired its top official responsible for managing wildlife and two of his subordinates after being accused of involvement in the smuggling operation, Reuters reported in 2012.

The southern ground hornbill, similar to the one allegedly smuggled from Tanzania to Qatar.
The southern ground hornbill, similar to the one allegedly smuggled from Tanzania to Qatar.

The Guardian reported the shipment of more than 100 animals was worth $113,715 and included vultures, gazelles, hornbills and eagles, in addition to the giraffes and other creatures.

The British newspaper, citing the testimony of one of Kamran’s accomplices, said three giraffes died while being transported to the airport.

“We went back to the game park and captured three giraffes and other animals and transported them into the cage of animals to compensate for the dead ones,” Maulid Hamis reportedly testified, according to the Guardian.

Various media reports say Tanzanian officials launched an investigation that was to include interviews with the pilots of the military aircraft that transported the creatures to Qatar.

It’s not clear what came of that investigation. Qatar has filed biannual reports with administrators of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, better known by its acronym, CITES. The standardized form asks responding countries about their local enforcement efforts to combat the illegal trade in wildlife and animal products.

Handcuffs / arrest

According to its responses, Qatar has not initiated any criminal prosecutions, levied fines or taken any other court actions related to CITES violations between 2003 and 2013.

The last documented confiscations were contained in its 2005-06 report and included ivory from Sudan, several birds from Bahrain and coral from Yemen.

Qatar’s standardized disposal methods, according to its report, is to turn the confiscated creatures and specimens over to public zoos and botanical gardens or a designated rescue center.

Domestic wildlife

Private wildlife collections are not uncommon in the Gulf, where individuals have been known to keep endangered species as domesticated pets and post photos of themselves with their exotic creatures.

Some commentators have denounced the practice as being cruel to the animals and dangerous to their owners and nearby residents. More recently, CITES urged governments in the region this summer to crack down on individuals who sell and own cheetahs.

In Qatar – where keeping such wild animals as pets is illegal – videos and photos of residents out in public with their big cats have circulated in recent years.

Last year, a cheetah was apparently sold via Qatar Living for QR35,000 (US$9,611).

That’s more or less the going rate for the spotted felines, which CITES estimates generally sell for approximately $10,000. The organization says smugglers need to charge a high price for each live cheetah they deliver to customers to make up for their losses from those animals that die during transportation.

Thoughts?

15 COMMENTS

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greg
greg
6 years ago

Should name & shame the people who bought the animals!

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

were the animals final destination Doha? or was it a layover :/

they probably ended up in some farm in the outskirts of doha, or if confiscated or handed in, then they rest with the zoo..

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

They got deported, someone brough them over on a lion visa not a giraffe. Now they have a two year ban before they can reenter.

K Abdulghani
K Abdulghani
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Were they deported to Madagascar?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  K Abdulghani

Yes and now are in a battle with 1000s of ring tailed lemurs for supremacy….

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

LOLLL. If @dohanews runs the “Comment of the Year” contest this one will be my choice 🙂

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

This story must be bogus, how is a Qatari going to get a giraffe in his land cruiser for driving around town.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The top range LCs have a sun roof.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The LC gang prefer leopards and cheetahs. The Lamborghini, Ferrari gangs prefer the Giraffe’s I would guess. I present to you, the Hangover 3 Giraffe Scene!!!!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

LOL. Needs to be careful at the roundabouts….

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

…………..transported on a military plane ….. looks like the illegal job has been done with the full knowledge of the authorities which is a serious breach of agreed and ratified world conventions which in itself is a huge disgrace

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

Yep, looks like someone was getting paid off. Not as if you can hide a giraffe as you go through customs….

zoeval
zoeval
6 years ago

I’m sure the authorities are working very hard on combating this illegal trafficking and we will hear about effective law enforcement and prosecutions by the end of the year, or maybe beginning of next, or by next May, or any time soon.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Thoughts? You wouldn’t want to hear my thoughts. Safe to say they don’t make Qatar go up in my estimation. As the world spends millions on trying to save the endangered species on the planet we have some sub-human who happily parades his “trophy” around the city. Shame on him and anyone who is involved.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

Seemed like a tall order……………..

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