On 26 April 2022, the Wildlife Justice Commission’s successful operations in Thailand continued with the arrest of a man suspected of trafficking live pangolins and other protected wildlife in the Yala province, in south Thailand, and the seizure of a live pangolin.
Pangolins are considered the most trafficked mammal in the world driven by demand for pangolin meat and scales. All species of pangolins are threatened with extinction, but Asian pangolin populations have been particularly decimated during the past 20 years.
That is why the Royal Thai Police Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED) , the Department of National Parks (DNP) and the Wildlife Justice Commission have undertaken a joint investigation into wildlife trafficking networks operating from the south of Thailand, which trade in pangolins and multiple other endangered species, across Thailand and the Greater Mekong region.
The arrested suspect, identified as Mr Decha, 35 years old, had been identified over the course of the investigation and was apprehended while trying to sell the live pangolin. The suspect subsequently confessed that he traded in protected wildlife by acting as a middleman between poachers and buyers.
The live pangolin was safely rescued and is now being cared for by DNP officers at a wildlife rescue centre in Ratchaburi Province.
“This operation is another tangible achievement for intelligence led investigations in the fight against transnational organised wildlife crime. We commend the commitment of the Thai authorities, and we will continue to work with the Royal Thai Police and the Department of National Parks to combat the illegal trade in endangered species. Securing an arrest like this sends a message to wildlife traffickers that engaging in these crimes, which threaten the biodiversity of our planet, will not go unpunished. ”
Stephen Carmody, Director of Programs at the Wildlife Justice Commission
Earlier this month, a separate joint investigation conducted by officers of the Royal Thai Police Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED) and the Wildlife Justice Commission resulted in the arrest of three men suspected of trafficking big cats in Thailand and the Greater Mekong Region.
The most recent operation was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Fondation Segré. The Wildlife Justice Commission wishes to thank Fondation Segré for their generosity and their commitment to supporting our work in different parts of the world since 2018.