Seizure of protected species in Thailand

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, in cooperation with the General Directorate of Customs of Madagascar, held a press conference this Saturday to share the latest news about the animals recently seized in Thailand. On May 1st, Thai authorities caught an illegal shipment containing 48 lemurs and over a thousand radiated tortoises, both of which are protected species. This operation revealed a transnational smuggling network that involves Madagascar. Mr. Max Andonirina Fontaine, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, and Mr. Ernest Lainkana Zafivanona, the general director of customs, confirmed that four suspects, believed to be members of this trafficking network, have been arrested and are currently in custody in Madagascar.

Mr. Zafivanona shared evidence, including photos and communications, showing close connections between the suspects in Madagascar and contacts in Thailand. “This undeniable proof shows the reach and organization of this criminal network,” he said during the conference. Regarding the return of the seized animals, it was noted that both countries are signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). However, discussions about sending these animals back are still in the early stages and could take a long time, as seen in previous negotiations involving similar cases like rosewood trafficking.

The ministry and the customs directorate continue to work closely with international counterparts to follow up on this case and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

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