From: Associated Press
Published February 14, 2005 12:00 AM

U.S. Wildlife Experts to Teach Brazilian Environmental Police

BRASILIA, Brazil — American wildlife experts will teach Brazil's federal police how to crack down on environmental crimes, the government said.


Instructors from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will give a two-week course for 30 top federal police agents, who will learn about surveillance, covert operations and international investigation, the government said.


Federal police will use trained dogs at international airports and work with scientists abroad to repress smuggling, Jorge Pontes, chief of the federal police Environmental Crimes Division, said in an interview with the government news service Radiobras.


"There's no effective repression of wildlife trafficking in Brazil today," Pontes said.


Fighting environmental crimes in Brazil's vast Amazon -- which sprawls over 4 million square kilometers (1.6 million square miles) -- "is like changing a tire on a moving car," he said.


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Many plants and animals are bought from poor Amazon residents and smuggled out of the country, largely to the United States, Pontes said. Police plan to crack down on the intermediaries -- not on the Amazon suppliers.


"The river dwellers need education, support and guidance," he told Radiobras. Wildlife smuggling is highly profitable but pollutes rivers and jungles and spreads diseases like malaria, he said.


U.S. instructor Rick Giovengo said the Wildlife Service offers similar courses in South Africa, Tanzania, Russia, Thailand, and other countries.


Source: Associated Press


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