Sea turtle confiscated in Oklahoma as part of Operation Wild Web. Credit: USFWS

Wildlife authorities seized sea turtle skin boots, whale teeth, elephant and walrus ivory and pelts from a Sumatran tiger, leopard and jaguar during undercover operations target online sales of protected species.

Dubbed Operation Wild Web, the project also seized live migratory birds mounts and others items and led to charges against scores of traffickers in 16 states and three Asian countries, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Operation Wild Web resulted in 154 “buy/busts” in the United States: 30 involving federal wildlife crimes and 124 for violations of state wildlife laws. It also exposed online trafficking of live birds and tiger and leopard pelts in Southeast Asia.

Over a 14-day period in August 2012, approximately 70 Service special agents and conservation officers from State wildlife agencies across the country teamed up to investigate illegal online commerce in wildlife. Agents from the National Park Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helped staff some of the 14 “taskforce” groups operating in the United States. Wildlife officers in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia simultaneously ran their own in-country Operation Wild Web taskforces targeting illegal wildlife internet sales.

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