Project Predator targets the illegal poaching and trade in Asian tigers and other big cats, including leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards and Asiatic lions.
Tigers and other Asian big cats are on the brink of extinction. The greatest threat comes from criminals who control an illegal trade that spans 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 from these illegal activities are also 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.
Project Predator aims to increase communication, coordination and collaboration between high-level enforcement experts and managers from tiger-range countries, drawing upon national and international strengths, resources and expertise.
The enforcement response needs to employ advanced, intelligence-led methods of investigation and to engage the whole criminal justice system. The response must target the individuals and networks who control this illegal trade, bring them to justice, and seize any assets obtained through their crimes.
These efforts were given further momentum by the resolution adopted at the 2014 INTERPOL General Assembly which urges member countries to raise awareness among law enforcement authorities of environmental crimes and violations, their causes and their impact.
Countries and partners involved
The project works closely with the Asian big cat range countries and dedicated wildlife enforcement networks. It seeks to harness political will, transform it into departmental support, and train law enforcement officers in the necessary skills.
- Countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Main funders: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and US State Department.
- International organizations: ICCWC, the World Customs Organization, the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative, SAWEN and ASEAN-WEN.
- NGOs: IFAW, Freeland Foundation, WWF/TRAFFIC.
- Stimulate intelligence-led investigations;
- Gather, analyse and share intelligence;
- Promote the use of INTERPOL’s global police databases;
- Support international law enforcement operations;
- Assist with the forensic processing of poaching scenes and seizure sites;
- Bridge the gaps between arrests, investigations and prosecutions;
- Host training courses and investigative planning meetings;
- Develop a strategic and tactical analytic report on tiger crime;
- Encourage the creation of National Environmental Security Task Forces (NESTs);
- Maximize existing partnerships and develop new ones;
- Strengthen the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) as an institution and connect it to INTERPOL’s secure global police communications network(I-24/7).