Wild At Life Project

The Battle against Wildlife Traffickers

Turkish influencer sentenced

Activity status: Accomplished
Area of Activity: Istanbul, Türkiye

Wild at Life e.V. launched their first campaign in Turkey on wildlife trafficking, targeting “famous” content creators who use primates bought via the illegal market for their own fame. For this vitally important mission, we have collaborated with the Turkish government to stop a famous social media influencer and Youtuber who is fueling wildlife trafficking repeatedly and abusing the primates he acquired from smugglers.

Content creator Meriç Izgi illegally bought three primates and pretended that they were the same animals. People thought they look cute but the truth was hidden from his Youtube, TikTok, and Instagram pages. After we have confiscated the primates, he was seen procuring another one the next day.

Anti-smuggling police raided Izgi’s home in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district and detained him for violating an international treaty against the smuggling of macaques. The monkeys have since been handed over to the local wildlife authority Asli Han Gedik, the founder of Wild at Life e.V., who spearheaded efforts to bring legal charges against Izgi, thanked the officials of the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (DKMP), which is a subdivision of the Turkish government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

This was a very tough and long road as our organisation was targeted by criminals and hackers. We stand proud in making history in Türkiye, as never in history have wildlife traffickers been brought to justice and had all primates confiscated. Our campaign was pushed to the Turkish prosecutors and Merc Izgi has been indicted for wildlife trafficking and is facing jail time.

We are proud to have stopped wildlife trafficking and we have set an example for future traffickers. This will preserve wildlife where it belongs and no more primates would be trafficked into the country – truly a major milestone for biodiversity.

Ways we can combat wildlife trafficking as an individual:

– Say NO to endangered and exotic animal products
– Report the crime
– Support charities creating routes to recovery

Together, we can make the world a better place.

Update: December 25, 2020

Turkish Influencer Sentenced – Published by Hurriyet Daily News

Hurriyet Daily News talks about the potential charges Meriç İzgi and an accomplice may face for illegally smuggling macaques into Türkiye. The article is in English.

Update: September 19, 2020

Turkish Influencer Sentenced – Published by Daily Sabah

The Daily Sabah covered the story where Wild at Life e.V. spearheaded efforts to bring legal charges against Meriç Izgi after efforts to educate him were in vain. The article also quoted Wild at Life e.V.’s founder Asli Han Gedik on the influence – albeit at times negative – influencers carry with them. The article is in English.

Update: September 18, 2020

Turkish Influencer Sentenced – Published by Daily Sabah

The Daily Sabah reported that anti-smuggling police raided Meriç Izgi’s home and detained him for violating an international treaty against the smuggling of macaque monkeys. The article is in English.

Update: September 17, 2020

Turkish Influencer Sentenced – Published by Haber Global

Haber Global wrote an article about seizing all three of Meriç İzgi’s monkeys, which he illegally obtained them. The smuggling branch detained Meriç İzgi, who is expected to be sent to the courthouse tomorrow. The article is in Turkish.

Update: September 16, 2020

Turkish Influencer Sentenced – Published by Haber Global

Haber Global reports on Meriç İzgi’s illegal activities and how he also tried to close Wild at Life e.V.’s page. The article is in Turkish.

Update: September 14, 2020

Turkish Influencer Sentenced – Published by Onedio

Onedio calls out Turkish influencer Meriç İzgi for his “smuggling habits” – illegally buying another monkey after the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry confiscated his previous ones. The article is in Turkish.

This project is carried out in the following activity areas
Combating illegal wildlife trade

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