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20 November 2015

INTERPOL meeting aims to develop strategy to curb tiger crime

SINGAPORE – Environmental enforcement leaders from tiger range countries and non-governmental organizations have re-affirmed their commitment to protect the world’s remaining wild tigers at an executive-level meeting in Singapore. 

The two-day (19 and 20 November) meeting provided a platform for 23 senior law enforcement officers from 10 tiger range countries and partner organizations to discuss transnational actions against tiger crime.

Organized by INTERPOL’s Project Predator, the meeting aimed to develop a common enforcement strategy for the management of tiger crime across all tiger range countries, and institutionalize the strategy to facilitate intelligence-led operational efforts on the ground.

INTERPOL pledged to support countries’ global efforts to increase the number and intensity of targeted law enforcement operations and information sharing between wildlife officials, customs agencies, police forces and NGOs.

Wild tiger populations are under increasing threat from organized criminal groups. Criminals have decimated the world’s tiger population to supply illicit global markets with tiger skins, bones, body parts and tiger-derived products. The criminal networks involved operate in multiple countries and across borders, and have also been linked to other serious crimes including firearm and drug smuggling, bribery and corruption.

The meeting was attended by law enforcement officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, and by representatives from CITES, the Global Tiger Initiative Council, TRAFFIC, Panthera, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the Wildlife Protection Society of India, the Global Tiger Forum and Freeland Foundation. The meeting was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and CITES.

Launched in 2011, Project Predator is an INTERPOL initiative to protect and save the world’s last surviving wild tigers by uniting and coordinating the efforts of police, customs and wildlife officials in the 13 Asian countries where wild tigers can still be found.

The working group meeting follows the 2nd INTERPOL-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference, which brought together senior government, law enforcement and environmental leaders. Following discussions at the conference, INTERPOL and UNEP are drafting a set of action points for the two organizations to take in tackling environmental crime.