Operation Steamer Trunk- Saving pangolins in South Africa

On June 28, 2024, an extraordinary collaboration between Pretoria K9, Bronkhorstspruit K9, Bronkhorstspruit Detectives, and the Tswane Metro Police Department (Drug and Bylaws Enforcement), alongside Focus Conservation, led to the successful interception of the illegal pangolin trade in South Africa. Acting on a tip-off, authorities launched an undercover operation to investigate a reported two pangolins being offered for sale.

At the designated meeting point, two suspects with suitcases were apprehended. Upon inspection, the pangolins were confirmed to be in the suitcases, valued at R800,000. The pangolins were safely recovered and transported to the Johannesburg Wildlife Hospital for immediate care.

The operation resulted in the arrest of two suspects and the seizure of four cell phones. Additionally, one of the suspects was identified as an illegal immigrant. This successful operation underscores the critical role of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and conservation organizations in tackling wildlife crime.

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