World News – US – Flying squirrel trafficking ring destroyed by Florida wildlife officials

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Suzanne Higgs prepares to release a flying squirrel near the Kalamazoo Nature Center Florida officials have announced the arrest of a group of poachers involved in the capture and sale of squirrels protected flywheels (Kalamazoo Gazette) Kalamazoo Gazette

At least seven people have been arrested for capturing and selling flying squirrels in Florida, according to a press release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The commission said it has so far arrested seven people who face 25 felony charges involving « an elaborate organized business smuggling wildlife from Florida to interstate and international buyers »

The commission said it received a complaint from a citizen in January 2019 about flying squirrels illegally trapped in a rural area

« Flying squirrels, a wild animal protected in Florida, sold worldwide in the pet trade Over the next 19 months, FWC investigators devised an elaborate plan in which squirrels flyers have been illegally captured by poachers in several counties in central Florida

The flying squirrels were then sold to a wildlife dealer in Bushnell and were laundered through that dealer’s licensed business, which claimed to be captive-bred »

The commission said poachers have used up to ‘10,000 squirrel traps in central Florida and up to 3,600 flying squirrels have been captured in less than three years

In three years, the wildlife dealer received up to $ 213,800 in illegal gross proceeds The FWC estimates that the international retail value of poached wildlife will exceed $ 1 million « 

According to the commission, its investigation revealed that buyers are coming to the United States from South Korea

3600 contraband flying squirrels = 7 arrests
Thousands of wild southern flying squirrels have been stolen

« The animals were then driven in rental cars to Chicago, where the source of the animals was further concealed, and the animals were exported to Asia by an unwitting international wildlife exporter As the operation expanded, couriers from the state of Georgia would take over transport

A Georgian courier would go to Orlando, rent a vehicle and drive the animals to Atlanta A second hired courier would then drive the animals to Chicago Each of the new participants would not know the identities of the other suspects « 

The commission learned that the operation also involved other species of animals, including protected freshwater turtles and alligators

« Wildlife Conservation Laws Protect Florida’s Valuable Natural Resources From Abuse Concerned Citizen Who Originally Reported This Activity Has Opened An Investigation Which Has Revealed A Major Smuggling Operation These Poachers Could Have Seriously Damaged Florida’s wildlife populations, ”said Maj Grant Burton, section chief responsible for the commission’s inquiry

Those arrested face charges including racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, money laundering, fraud scheme, granting theft and trafficking in stolen goods

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Flying squirrels, squirrels, Florida

News from the world – United States – Flying squirrel trafficking ring destroyed by wildlife officials in Florida



SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com/news/world-news-us-flying-squirrel-trafficking-ring-destroyed-by-florida-wildlife-officials/?remotepost=442047

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