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 countries (China, India, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam) and was co-ordinated by INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France. It worked in close collaboration with its participating member countries to provide a single platform to National Central Bureaus for the exchange and co-ordination of intelligence via INTERPOL’s I-24/7 secure police communications system.
In addition to the arrests, more than 50 kg of tiger bone – including skeletons and skulls – were seized, and key smuggling routes broken up during raids across the six participating countries.
“The national agencies involved in this international operation supported by INTERPOL have shown unscrupulous criminals who target threatened species that action will be taken to combat their illegal activities,” said INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Manager, David Higgins.
Less than 3,500 tigers remain in the wild as a result of loss of habitat and the involvement of organized criminal networks engaged in the illegal trafficking of their skins and bones.