Friday 27th January 2006, 08:01
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Berlin and Czech Republic
Official corruption and illegal trade in protected animal and bird species in Germany
Suspicion of corruption and animal smuggling in the Aachen area
Police search district council offices and premises of animal traders
Bonn/Aachen. More than 140 police officers took part in an operation last Tuesday involving 12 separate searches of premises in the Heinsberg district in North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) aimed at securing evidence of illegal trade in animals. According to the Aachen public prosecutor’s office, it is suspected that Heinsberg district council officials had issued licences for the trade in strictly protected species. In addition the cadavers of 30 protected tortoise/turtle species were found on the premises of an animal trader and were confiscated. Criminal investigation proceedings have been initiated against a number of traders and council officials.
The Komitee gegen den Vogelmord (Committee against Bird Slaughter, Bonn) stated that they had informed the authorities in 2003 that protected owl and raptor species were being auctioned on EBay using dubious paperwork emanating from the Heinsberg district council.
As spokesperson Axel Hirschfeld confirmed “The seller had used incomplete trading licence forms from Heinsberg”.
A search of the premises of the EBay dealer by the Frankfurt police discovered more than 100 stuffed birds of protected species including Eagle Owl, Honey buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Griffon Vulture as well as numerous big cat and ape skulls. The Frankfurt animal trader was sentenced in the first instance to one year and three months imprisonment on probation, but has however appealed against the sentence.
The Committee further reports that the falsification of documents for rare and exotic species is widespread in the animal trade. “If it now comes out that the responsible Heinsberg officials actually issued blank licence forms then that would be a scandal of the first order” Hirschfeld states.
Information concerning doubtful licences for rare species, or on suspicious trade in animals or birds, can be reported anonymously via the toll free hotline of the NRW CID Tel.: 0800 / 56 77 878 (0800 / KORRUPT)
On Behalf of the Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V.
Aktionsgemeinschaft für Tier- und Artenschutz Bundesgeschäftsstelle Auf dem Dransdorfer Berg 98, 53121 Bonn, Germany
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