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29 July 2013 - Media release

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 authorities the skills necessary to aid in the conservation of tigers and other Asian ‘big cats’.

Held under the auspices of Project Predator, INTERPOL’s Operation Prey targets the illegal trade in wildlife and animal products such as tiger skins and bones. The fourth phase of the operation which began in January has so far resulted in 42 arrests and the seizure of nearly 20 tiger and leopard skins, across tiger range countries. 

Some 167 kg of tiger and 20 kg of leopard bones, more than 500 live parakeets and 600 turtles and tortoises, elephant tusks and parts from wild boars and various species of deer have also been seized.

Two leopards were found to have been killed accidentally by electrocution from a live wire trap laid by wild boar poachers, however authorities said one tiger was deliberately killed in the same manner. Rhino horns were also discovered hidden inside the headlamp of a car. 

In addition to the operations, INTERPOL held two training workshops for law enforcement officers in India and Thailand in July which focused on modern techniques for investigating wildlife crime.

David Higgins, Manager of the INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme said, “We hope that our actions inspire the region to maintain a high level of commitment. Making the right choices for the future of wild tigers and other endangered species, and for the environment as a whole, should be our number one priority.”

International partners in INTERPOL’s Project Predator include the US Agency for International Development (USAID), UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and SAWEN. The Project Predator countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

On International Tiger Day, INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme is taking part in a specialized workshop on tiger and other endangered species in Kunming, China hosted by the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Management, State Forestry Administration of China and supported by the World Bank's Global Tiger Initiative, the University of Beijing and the World Wildlife Fund.

All INTERPOL member countries, especially those rich in biodiversity, are invited to take part in the INTERPOL International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Events from 4 to 8 November 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. Representation through environment ministers or heads of wildlife and forestry agencies is highly encouraged.