Project Predator, targeting the illegal poaching and trade in Asian “big cats”, was launched during the 80th INTERPOL General Assembly (2011), in Hanoi, Vietnam.

As one of the 13 tiger-range countries, Vietnam affords its tigers the highest levels of protection under law. The launch of the project in this country provided a solid platform for INTERPOL’s engagement in the response to tiger crime and other forms of wildlife crime in the region. Project Predator is funded primarily by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The issues

Tigers are on the brink of extinction. The greatest threat comes from criminals who control an illegal trade spanning countries and continents. Tigers and other Asian big cats are illegally killed or poached due to the high value of their fur on the black market, and the demand for their body parts for traditional medicines.

Profits produced from these illegal activities are also intricately linked to fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, other kinds of smuggling, violence and extortion. The illegal trade in tigers is one of the most high profile, destructive and urgent forms of wildlife crime.

The response

The enforcement response needs to employ advanced, intelligence-led methods of investigation and the engagement of the whole criminal justice system. The response must target the individuals and networks who control this lucrative trade, bring them to justice, and seize any assets obtained through their crimes.

Project Predator supports and enhances the governance and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of Asian big cats and will develop a global picture of the criminal activity undermining ongoing conservation efforts.

The project’s fundamental activities include:

  • Generating a higher use of genetic information, and the potential development of a regional platform of tiger genetic fingerprints for conservation management and wildlife enforcement in the region;
  • Supporting national, regional and international law enforcement efforts with new and innovative mechanisms that will enhance the ability of law enforcement officers to address Asian big cat crime;
  • Fostering communication, coordination and cooperation between enforcement experts and managers from Asian big cat range countries;
  • Organizing collaborative, high-level international efforts to improve political will and transform this will into departmental support;
  • Hosting training courses and investigative planning meetings;
  • Developing a strategic and tactical analytic report on tiger crime;
  • Assisting member countries in the organization of National Environmental Security Seminars (NESSs) and the establishment of National Environmental Security Task Forces (NESTs);
  • Gathering, analysing and sharing intelligence;
  • Stimulating intelligence-led investigations and enforcement activities;
  • Providing assistance for the forensic processing of poaching scenes and seizure sites;
  • Filling the gaps between arrests, intelligence-led investigations and prosecutions;
  • Exploring new partnerships while drawing upon national and international strengths, resources and expertise;
  • Strengthening the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) as an institution and connecting it to I-24/7, INTERPOL’s secure global police communications network.

World leaders must acknowledge that if we cannot save the tiger, there is little hope of success in tackling other environmental challenges. Project Predator is not limited to the protection of tigers, but extends to the protection of all Asian big cats, since these species face similar threats.

Protecting tigers will protect other Asian big cat populations as well, because the skins and body parts of leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards and Asiatic lions are traded in the same manner as tiger parts. 

Project Predator - News
03 March 2015

INTERPOL encourages global action on World Wildlife Day

INTERPOL is backing World Wildlife Day as part of the Organization’s ongoing efforts to support law enforcement around the globe in promoting environmental security.With the theme ‘It's time to get serious about wildlife crime’, World Wildlife Day 2015 aims to raise awareness of the positive role which local communities can also play in helping curb this...
19 December 2014

Hundreds of animals seized in operation targeting wildlife trafficking across Asia

LYON, France – A five-month long INTERPOL-coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking in tigers and other big cats across Asia has resulted in the seizure of hundreds of animals and more than 160 arrests.Involving 13 countries, Operation PAWS (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) also focused on lesser known species also in high demand by the bl...
29 July 2014

On Global Tiger Day, INTERPOL renews pledge to defend the species

LYON, France – INTERPOL is marking Global Tiger Day with a renewed commitment to supporting its member countries in protecting the world’s last remaining wild tigers.INTERPOL’s Project Predator combines the efforts of police, customs and wildlife officials in the countries in Asia where wild tigers and other ‘big cats’ such as leopards can still be found....
03 April 2014

INTERPOL report highlights need for greater operational response to preserve tigers

Lyon, France – A new INTERPOL report has underlined the need for greater operational and investigative responses to the highly lucrative illicit tiger trade if the species is to avoid extinction.With both small-scale opportunistic criminals and organized crime networks using constantly changing tactics and more innovative and sophisticated methods to avoi...
29 July 2013

INTERPOL observes International Tiger Day with renewed commitment to protecting the species

LYON, France – In recognition of International Tiger Day, celebrated on 29 July each year, INTERPOL is reiterating its commitment to supporting its member countries in their efforts to protect this iconic species.Through law enforcement training, intelligence-led operations and enhanced international collaboration, INTERPOL’s Project Predator gives author...
12 July 2013

INTERPOL meeting strengthens response to wildlife crime in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK, Thailand – Some 20 officers from police, customs and environmental agencies in seven Asian countries attended an INTERPOL meeting in Bangkok to consider ways to improve the enforcement of wildlife protection laws in the region, with a focus on protecting Asian ‘big cats’.Organized by INTERPOL in collaboration with the Royal Thai Police and the Na...
05 July 2013

INTERPOL meeting in South Asia aims to improve wildlife crime investigation skills

NEW DELHI, India – Enhancing techniques for investigating crimes against wild tigers and other Asian ‘big cats’ was the focus of an INTERPOL meeting in India attended by some 30 senior law enforcement officers.The five-day (1-5 July) Integrated Investigative Training and Operational Planning Meeting for South Asia was co-hosted by INTERPOL’s Environmental...
21 December 2012

Use of intelligence in environmental investigations focus of INTERPOL training in Nepal

DHULIKHEL, Nepal – Some 28 senior environmental law enforcement officials from 11 Asian countries gathered in Nepal for a training session on the use of intelligence and information management in combating environmental crime.The five-day course (17-21 December) organized by INTERPOL, its National Central Bureau (NCB) in Kathmandu and the South Asian Wild...
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, My...
24 October 2012

USAID funding for INTERPOL-led wild tiger protection campaign supporting South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network

THIMPU, Bhutan – The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is to provide an additional USD 719,000 in funding towards INTERPOL’s Project Predator to support the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) in protecting wild tigers.The announcement by the US Ambassador to India and Bhutan, Nancy Powell, was made during the Second Asian Minist...
19 October 2012

China hosts its first National Environmental Security Seminar with INTERPOL support

BEIJING, China ‒ International efforts to develop a cooperative and collaborative multi-agency strategy to tackle environmental crime received a boost after China hosted its first National Environmental Security Seminar with the support of INTERPOL.At the meeting China announced it would seek out and develop opportunities to enhance its international envi...
18 September 2012

INTERPOL launches National Environmental Security Task Force initiative

AMMAN, Jordan – INTERPOL has officially launched its National Environmental Security Task Force (NEST) initiative at the 21st INTERPOL Asian Regional Conference before 150 officials from 40 countries.The initiative aims to establish a common platform and approach worldwide for national compliance and enforcement responses, so as to enhance both national a...
29 July 2012

INTERPOL wildlife operation results mark Global Tiger Day

LYON, France – INTERPOL is marking Global Tiger Day with the announcement of an operation aimed at protecting this iconic species and other big cats threatened with extinction and targeting the individual and organized crime groups behind the illicit activity.Operation Prey, conducted across Bhutan, China, India and Nepal led has so far led to nearly 40 a...
14 February 2012

World’s remaining wild tiger range countries agree on police and customs enforcement measures for nearly-extinct species

BANGKOK, Thailand – Police and customs heads from 13 Asian countries agreed today to tighten controls and improve cross-border cooperation to curb the illegal smuggling of tigers and other critically endangered species. The accord came at the conclusion of the two-day international “Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime”, which brought togeth...
07 October 2010

Illegal tiger trade targeted by international operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL

LYON, France – An international law enforcement operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL against the illegal trade in tigers has led to the arrest of some 25 individuals suspected of taking part in the illicit trade of one of the world’s most endangered species. The two-month operation (August-September) involved national enforcement agencies in six tiger-range...
03 December 2009

INTERPOL and CITES hold wildlife enforcement course to combat tiger poaching

JAKARTA, Indonesia – An INTERPOL intelligence analysis training course is being held in the Indonesian capital in conjunction with the Secretariat for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as part of efforts to boost law enforcement’s worldwide operational capability against the poaching of wild tigers...