By Dave Elias
Wildlife smuggling is one of the most lucrative crimes in the world, generating $20 million a year. The organized crime is also bringing many species to the brink of extinction.
It involves the illegal gathering, transportation and distribution of animals and their derivatives.
Exotic animals around the world are being slaughtered for their pelts, horns and skin.
The gateway for this crime is less than 90 miles away – at the port of Miami.
"The illegal wildlife trade is a big global problem," says wildlife inspector Amir Lawal.
A pilot program launched by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trains black labs, like Viper, to sniff out illegal wildlife and products.
"Viper and I find all kinds of animals," says Lawal, who handles Viper.
He says there are four canines in the country.
"He's alerting me that there is something there. He does a quick scratch letting me know that there is something in the box," describes Lawal.
Viper is looking for items such as a black rhino horn, which is valued at $65,000 on the black market.
"They just want to grind this rhino horn up into a powder and they sell the powder. So it's kind of like liquid gold," explains wildlife inspector Eva Lara.
Burmese python skin, ivory and wool are also like gold.
When it comes to illegal trade, China is one of the biggest offenders. More....