A man in the UK has been sentenced to 14 months in prison after trying to flog off endangered animal parts on the popular social media app Instagram. Abbas Allawi, 52, was taken into custody for trying to sell rhino horns, elephant tusks, and hippo teeth valued at up to £2m.
Police caught Allawi in October of last year, after a home raid in which search dogs sniffed out the illegal possessions in his attic.
Harrow Crown Court have now found him guilty of six wildlife offenses, all of which he has admitted to. The charges involve purchasing and attempting to sell three rhino horns, two elephant tusks, and four hippopotamus teeth.
"Some rhinoceros populations are critically endangered," Met Police's Det Con Christopher Jones told BBC. "Police are the last line of defense for some of these beautiful creatures. We will seek to prosecute anyone found to be trading illegally.”
"A world without iconic species such as rhinos and elephants would be a sad place,” Jones added to The Guardian.
According to the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 1997, it’s against the law in the UK to sell parts of endangered animals.
Animal poaching is still going strong, and in many cases has increased in numbers across countries in Africa in the last decade. Save The Rhino noted that during 2013, there were 1,004 rhinos slaughtered in South Africa. In 2014, that statistic jumped to 1,215, but in 2016 the numbers reduced to 1,054.
The African Wildlife Foundation say that rhino horns are often bought based on the belief that they cure hangovers and even cancer, but there's absolutely no proof to back this up. Elephant tusks are highly valued as ivory jewelry and can be sold for thousands of dollars.
What’s more, it was reported by The Guardian that in the last century one elephant has been poached every 15 minutes. They also reported a 30 percent decline in Africa’s savanna elephants over the last seven years.
Just two months ago, the UK government made an announcement to ban the sale of ivory in the UK. In a conference, environment minister Therese Coffey said: “The international community shares a common aim to end merciless poaching and criminal trading, but now is the time to step up decisive action.”