CaribWorldNews, YARMOUTH PORT, Mass., May 5, 2009: Three police officers were arrested this week in Trinidad and Tobago for stealing more than one thousand protected animals from Venezuelan wildlife smugglers.
According to reports, the accused officers caught two Venezuelan men smuggling a boat filled with protected wildlife species into Trinidad and Tobago. Rather than arresting the smugglers, the officers robbed the men at gunpoint and stole the cache of illegal wildlife. The officers took more than 400 pounds of wild meat and 1,000 live animals including bull finches, picoplats, monkeys, parrots, and macaws.
The police officers were later arrested by game wardens trained in Trinidad and Tobago who had been trained by the International Fund for Animal Welfare just over a year ago on how to spot and address wildlife crime and how to humanely confiscate and shelter the animals.
`This is a major victory for people who care about protecting endangered species. IFAW works extremely hard worldwide to train law enforcement to identify and stop wildlife crime,` said IFAW’s Kelvin Alie.
The confiscated animals are being held at the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port-of-Spain. The fate of the birds and other species rests on the final verdict of the case. If the case is successfully prosecuted, the native species will be released into the wild.