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04 December 2012

INTERPOL operations in Asia lead to seizure of live tigers and other protected species

LYON, France – The second and third phases of INTERPOL’s Operation Prey, targeting the illegal trade in wildlife and animal products, led to the seizure of 40 live tigers and tiger parts, along with other protected species and the arrest of more than a dozen individuals.

Held in September and October, Operation Prey II was conducted in Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, followed by Operation Prey III in Indonesia and Malaysia. Aside from tigers, authorities also seized pangolins, protected snakes and bushmeat. Operation Prey is one of many initiatives under the framework of INTERPOL’s Project Predator.

Thanks to the targeted Operation Prey enforcement actions, tiger range countries are better prepared to participate in future activities of Project Predator. This will be further strengthened by an upcoming training session in Nepal organized in collaboration with the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) and the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Kathmandu.

“Today, as some of our member countries observe Wildlife Conservation Day, we applaud Asia’s law enforcement cooperation and collaboration against this highly complex wildlife crime,” said David Higgins, Manager of the INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme.

“With cohesion growing within the international compliance and enforcement community for the conservation of tigers, snow leopards and other Asian big cats, INTERPOL stands ready to support member countries in enhancing the governance and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of the world’s wildlife heritage,” concluded Mr Higgins.

Due to the various uses of animals as status symbols or for their medicinal properties, many creatures are now on the brink of extinction. To avoid this irreversible situation, INTERPOL is calling for an adjustment in behaviour to restore the region’s economic, natural and social independence by stamping out demand and breaking the criminal supply chain of these illegal products.

Project Predator continues its work to protect the world’s wild tigers thanks to  the ongoing support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).