Top 10 arrests in wildlife crime and corruption

As of my last update in September 2021, I can provide information on some of the significant wildlife crime and corruption arrests that had taken place up until that time. Please note that the rankings and details might have changed since then. Here are ten notable cases:

  1. Boonchai Bach: In January 2018, Thai national Boonchai Bach was arrested in Thailand for running an extensive illegal wildlife trafficking network that operated in several countries. He was a major player in the smuggling of ivory, rhino horns, and other endangered species.
  2. Vixay Keosavang: In 2013, Lao wildlife kingpin Vixay Keosavang, also known as the "Pablo Escobar of wildlife trafficking," was arrested in Laos. His network was responsible for the illegal trade of ivory, rhino horns, and other wildlife products across Southeast Asia.
  3. Nabhan Mashur: Nabhan Mashur, a notorious Kenyan ivory trafficker, was arrested in Tanzania in October 2015. He was linked to various elephant poaching incidents in East Africa.
  4. Gilbert Houngbo: In 2013, the former Togolese Prime Minister, Gilbert Houngbo, was arrested for his involvement in a major ivory smuggling ring.
  5. Buddha Maitreya: In Nepal, wildlife smuggler Buddha Maitreya was arrested in 2016 for trafficking rhino horns and other animal parts.
  6. Pasang Lama: Nepalese wildlife trader Pasang Lama was arrested in 2016 and was linked to the illegal trade of snow leopard skins and other endangered species.
  7. Hajji Bakari: Tanzanian ivory smuggler Hajji Bakari was arrested in 2015 after being on the run for several years. His network was responsible for the poaching and trafficking of elephant tusks.
  8. Yang Feng Glan: In 2015, Tanzanian authorities arrested Yang Feng Glan, also known as the "Ivory Queen," who was a prominent Chinese ivory smuggler and played a significant role in the illegal ivory trade in Africa.
  9. Feisal Mohamed Ali: In 2017, Kenyan authorities arrested Feisal Mohamed Ali, a notorious ivory smuggler connected to various international wildlife trafficking networks.
  10. Ying Kai: In 2017, Thai national Ying Kai was arrested in Kenya for her involvement in the illegal ivory trade.

Please note that wildlife crime and corruption are ongoing problems, and many more arrests have likely occurred since my last update. The fight against wildlife trafficking and corruption requires ongoing efforts and collaboration from governments, law enforcement agencies, and conservation organizations worldwide.

Who are the ringleaders?

It's important to note that wildlife crime operates as a highly organized and lucrative black market, involving not only local poachers but also international syndicates. Some of the main players in wildlife crime may include:

  1. Poaching Gang Leaders: These are individuals who lead groups of poachers and coordinate illegal hunting activities to kill and capture wildlife, often targeting endangered species for their valuable body parts, such as ivory, rhino horns, tiger bones, etc.
  2. Smugglers and Traffickers: These criminals are responsible for transporting illegally acquired wildlife and their products across borders and into black markets in other countries. They may also use sophisticated smuggling networks involving bribery and corruption.
  3. Corrupt Officials: In some cases, corrupt government officials play a significant role in enabling wildlife crime by turning a blind eye to illegal activities or actively participating in them, facilitating the movement of illegal wildlife products.
  4. International Cartels: Large-scale wildlife crime is often linked to international criminal organizations and cartels that exploit weak law enforcement and porous borders to smuggle wildlife products to destinations where they have high demand and fetch high prices.
  5. Illegal Wildlife Trade Kingpins: These individuals or organizations act as intermediaries between poachers and buyers, handling the logistics of trafficking and supplying the illicit wildlife products to markets, both online and offline.
  6. Online Wildlife Traffickers: With the rise of the internet, illegal wildlife trade has expanded into the digital realm. Some individuals or groups specialize in selling wildlife products through online platforms, making it challenging for law enforcement to trace and shut down their operations.

It's worth mentioning that efforts to combat wildlife crime involve not only local law enforcement agencies but also international collaborations and organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation and law enforcement. These criminal networks are persistent and adaptive, making it crucial to address the issue through a combination of law enforcement actions, public awareness, and international cooperation. Join our fight - by learning more at

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Thank you for your interest!

Cami Ciotta VP of Development and Producer

  10 months ago
CCAH | 10 subscribers
  10 months ago
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