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03 March 2014

On World Wildlife Day, INTERPOL renews commitment to environmental security

LYON, France – On the occasion of the inaugural World Wildlife Day, INTERPOL takes this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to protecting and conserving the world’s natural resources from the dangers posed by exploitation and criminal activity.

The United Nations proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit, the world police body’s dedicated entity for addressing crimes related to the environment, assists its 190 member countries in enforcing environmental laws and enhancing the status of environmental crimes on the legislative agenda. Specific initiatives focus on fisheries, forestry, pollution and wildlife crimes, which are often linked to other transnational crimes including corruption and drug trafficking.  

“INTERPOL is honoured to join the United Nations and CITES in marking this first World Wildlife Day, underlining our shared efforts in protecting the various forms of wild fauna and flora,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“Wildlife crime is no longer an emerging form of criminality but rather an established security concern, with widespread effects on the well-being of communities worldwide and economic stability.

“Through collaboration and joint commitment, we can help turn back wildlife crime and its consequences. INTERPOL looks forward to our continued work with CITES to encourage and support the efforts of national law enforcement in our member countries in tackling crimes against wildlife,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

As part of its ongoing enforcement support to national authorities in the fight against wildlife crime, INTEPOL has produced assessment reports on combating elephant poaching and ivory trafficking, and on the fight against the illicit tiger trade.

“This special day in the UN calendar has given the world a chance to reconnect with our planet’s wild side and to raise awareness of our collective responsibility – as citizens and consumers – to bring the illegal wildlife trade to an end,” said John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary General.

“CITES is proud to be working with INTERPOL and other partners to support stronger national enforcement efforts in the fight against illegal wildlife trade,” concluded Mr Scanlon.

INTERPOL’s wildlife protection initiatives include Project Predator, designed to preserve the world’s remaining wild tiger population; Project Wisdom, which tackles elephant and rhinoceros poaching and the illegal trade in ivory; Project Scale, developed to combat the growing environmental threat of illegal fishing; and Project Leaf, a consortium with the United Nations Environment Programme addressing illegal logging and forest crimes.