Denmark could become oasis for animal smugglers – The Post

Denmark could become oasis for animal smugglers

WWF fears that the illegal industry will be drawn to low punishment framework

More elephant tusks could make their way through Denmark unless something is done (photo: WWF)
August 29th, 2017 8:31 am| by Christian W

According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Denmark is in danger of becoming a paradise for animal smugglers in the future.

The nature organisation contends the illegal industry is attracted to Denmark’s less stringent laws compared to neighbouring countries. Smugglers get just one year in prison in Denmark, compared to four years in Sweden, five in Germany and six in the Netherlands.

“The rest of Europe has responded by increasing punishments for so-called wildlife-crimes, but in Denmark nothing is happening and we’ve become the weak link in the fight against the criminal networks,” said Bo Øksnebjerg, the secretary general of the WWF.

READ MORE: Danish safari park tightens security following zoo slaying

Five pointers
These days, the poaching of animals is no longer reserved for the savannahs of Africa and jungles of Borneo. Earlier this year a rare white rhino was killed in a zoo in France and Odense Zoo has had four parrots worth about half a million kroner stolen.

The WWF has compiled five points (see below) that it argues would help boost Denmark’s wildlife crime-fighting ability.

WWF's five points of change

– Permit the police to monitor and confiscate electronic mails

– Same punishment framework as neighbour nations

– Get tracker dogs to help find threatened animals as is done in many other nations

– Take DNA samples from antiques – since it is still legal to trade ivory and rhino horn dating back to before 1947, criminals often forge papers and permits so the new ivory comes off as antiques.

– More control, especially at Copenhagen Airport