International wildlife operation seizes tons of ivory and rare animal products
February 11, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
- Wildlife operation led by China nets tons of illegal animal products
- Found: 10,000 live eels and asia turtles, over 2,000 live snakes
- Operation had broad international support
(CNN) -- A wildlife operation involving dozens of countries and organizations, seized more than three tons of ivory and a bevy of rare wildlife products as well as rare wood.
Operatives found rare animals -- both living and dead -- during the international, month-long operation.
The China-led transnational effort, codenamed Cobra II, aimed to crack down on illegal wildlife trade. Authorities recovered over 10,000 live European eels and pig-nosed turtles, as well as over 2,000 live snakes, according to Xinhua, China's state-run news agency.
They also seized three tons of ivory, 36 rhino horns, and over 1,000 hides and skins from tigers, leopards and snakes as well as several hundred kilograms of pangolin scales from wildlife traffickers.
Activist battles illegal ivory trade
Yao Ming fights ivory trade in China
China destroys 6 tons of illegal ivory
The operation included 27 other countries including the United States. The effort had the support from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the World Customs Organization and Interpol, reported Xinhua.
During the operation, China's law enforcement officials suspected a Chinese man of being the head of an ivory trafficking group after customs staff at Taoxian Airport in northeast China found luggage containing 1,226 ivory beads, according to Xinhua.
Both Chinese and Kenyan police cooperated in the investigation and suspected that the man, whose last name was reported as Xue, operated a crime ring buying, transporting and selling ivory.
Xue was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya on January 17 and extradited to China, the news agency reported. His arrest marks the first time China has arrested a wildlife crime suspect overseas, the report said.
The Cobra II operation lasted from December 30 to January 26. It will "serve as a valuable model for the international community in future operations against transnational crimes," said Wan Ziming, director of the law enforcement department under the endangered species office in Xinhua.
The efforts uncovered over 200 cases with more than 250 suspects, according to Xinhua.
China accounts for around 70% of the global demand for ivory, which is known as "white gold" in the country. China has been under pressure to take more action to protect rare and endangered species and to fight the illegal trade.
China appears to have redoubled efforts tackling the ivory trade -- it destroyed 6.15 tons of ivory in January.
READ: China crushes tons of illegal ivory
READ: Hong Kong to burn stockpile of contraband ivory
READ: Connect the World blog: WWF: China's ivory destruction "fantastic sign"
CNN's Dayu Zhang contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
Today's five most popular stories