In Brief

US Offers $1 Million Reward to Stop Wildlife Trafficking Ring

On Nov. 14, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) destroyed its stockpile of seized ivory. (Image credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

The United States announced last week that it would give a $1 million reward for information that could lead to the downfall of a wildlife-crime syndicate in Southeast Asia, according to news reports.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that the syndicate, named the Xaysavang Network, is "one of the most prolific wildlife-trafficking syndicates in operation," with affiliates in China, Malaysia, Mozambique, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam. Investigators say that the syndicate is run by a Laotian businessman named Vixay Keosavang, according to the New York Times. The organization is allegedly involved in the trade of African ivory, rhino horns, tiger bones and other parts from endangered animals, the Times reported.

The United States crushed 6 tons of carvings, jewelry, trinkets and tusks last Thursday (Nov. 14), destroying its ivory stockpile for the first time, in an effort to encourage other governments to crack down on the trade of ivory and other illegally obtained wildlife parts.

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Douglas Main
Douglas Main loves the weird and wonderful world of science, digging into amazing Planet Earth discoveries and wacky animal findings (from marsupials mating themselves to death to zombie worms to tear-drinking butterflies) for Live Science. Follow Doug on Google+.