Can WillyThe K-9 unit of the Ecuadorian Environmental Police recently prevented an illegal exportation of two marine iguanas, an emblematic species of the Galapagos archipelago that has been protected since 1959.

On September 30, 2010, the Police were conducting a routine inspection of cargo and luggage at the Galapagos airport in Baltra, Ecuador. Willy, one of the dogs of the K-9 unit, identified a cardboard box containing two marine iguanas. The box had been abandoned by its owner. The iguanas were hidden in a compartment of the box. Both iguanas were improperly stored, but fortunately, they were still alive. The body of a deceased baby sea turtle was also found in the box. After the police inspection, the marine iguanas were delivered to the authorities of the Galapagos National Park.

According to the police report, witnesses only provided a general description of the suspected owner of the box. Since the box had been abandoned, the Police were unable to locate the suspect. An investigation has been opened to that end.

Iguana caja Iguana envuelta papel

While the perpetrator has not yet been identified, this case shows that the mere presence of the K-9 unit at the Galapagos airport was effectively able to frustrate and prevent a wildlife crime. According to Galapagos special legislation and the Penal Code of Ecuador, the non-authorized collection and/or mobilization of wildlife, including its exportation from the islands, is a penal infraction sanctioned with imprisonment.

shark finsThis operation came a day after another important finding of six shark fins stored in the ceiling of a house in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Sharks are also protected species in Galapagos. The shark fins were found as the result of an inspection conducted by another K-9 unit. This case is also currently under investigation to determine judicial responsibilities.

The K-9 unit of the Ecuadorian Environmental Police is supported by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. It is a pioneer unit in Ecuador, and in the region. In the past few years since its inception, the K-9 unit has proven to be instrumental in the fight against wildlife crimes in Galapagos. The dogs are trained to detect wildlife, including shark fins and sea cucumbers, and to prevent their illegal exportation. The K-9 unit operates the three inhabited islands of Galapagos under the command of specialized police officers.

Click here for more information on the K-9 unit.

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Can WillyLa Unidad Canina de la Unidad de Proteccion de Medio Ambiente de la Policia Nacional (UPMA) impidio una exportacion no autorizada de dos iguanas marinas, especie emblematica y protegida del archipielago de Galapagos desde 1959.

El 30 de septiembre de 2010, durante un control policial de carga y equipaje en el aeropuerto de Baltra, Galapagos, Willy, uno de los canes de la Unidad Canina identifico una caja de carton que contenia dos iguanas marinas. El carton habia sido abandonado por su dueno. Las iguanas estaban escondidas en un compartimiento de la caja. Estas dos iguanas fueron almacenadas inadecuadamente, pero, afortunadamente, aun estaban vivas cuando fueron rescatadas. Un caparazon seco de una tortuga marina bebe tambien se encontro en dicha caja. Despues de la inspeccion de la Policia, las iguanas marinas fueron entregadas a las autoridades del Parque Nacional Galapagos.

De acuerdo con el reporte de la Policia, los testigos solo proporcionaron una descripcion general del sospechoso. Dado que la caja habia sido abandonada, la policia no pudo localizar a su dueno. No obstante, abrio una investigacion al respecto.

Iguana caja
Iguana envuelta papel

Este caso muestra que la mera presencia de la Unidad Canina en el aeropuerto de Galapagos fue eficaz para frustrar este crimen en contra de la fauna silvestre. De acuerdo con la legislacion especial de Galapagos y el Codigo Penal del Ecuador, la recoleccion no autorizada y / o la movilizacion de vida silvestre, incluyendo la exportacion de especies de las islas, es una infraccion penal sancionada con pena de prision.

shark finsEsta operacion se produjo un dia despues de otro hallazgo importante, seis (6) aletas de tiburon almacenados en el techo de una casa en Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz. La operacion fue el resultado de una inspeccion llevada a cabo por la Unidad Canina de la Unidad de Proteccion del Medio Ambiente de la Policia. Este caso tambien esta bajo investigacion para determinar responsabilidades judiciales. Los tiburones son especies protegidas de Galapagos.

La Unidad Canina de la Unidad de Proteccion de Medio Ambiente de la Policia Nacional de Ecuador recibe el apoyo de Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Esta Unidad de deteccion de vida silvestre, es pionera en el Ecuador y la Region.  En los ultimos anos, la Unidad ha sido fundamental en la lucha contra los crimenes en contra de la fauna de Galapagos. Los canes estan entrenados para detectar vida silvestre, incluyendo aletas de tiburon y pepinos de mar. La Unidad funciona en las 3 islas habitadas de Galapagos, bajo el mando de oficiales de policia especializados en la materia.

Para mayor informacion sobre la Unidad Canina.

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