Police on Friday arrested eleven of Brazil’s top wildlife traffickers and rescued about 200 animals set for illegal sale, officials said.
Some of the rescued animals are endangered species captured in the Amazon rainforest, including macaws, toucans, monkeys and reptiles such as caimans.
The Federal Police announced at a press conference that eleven people had been arrested. The suspects are accused of illegally selling animals through social media.
Among those arrested is a man who investigators described as “one of the country’s leading animal traffickers”.
Another suspect “had been involved in wildlife trafficking for 38 years and was in the process of handing over the business to his son,” the head of the Federal Police’s Environmental Crimes Unit, Sebastiao Pujol, said at a press conference.
In addition to the offenses of animal trafficking and criminal conspiracy, the suspects are also accused of “endangering public health” because some of the species they handled are carriers of zoonoses or diseases and infections that are transmissible from animals to humans.