Crime chiefs from countries with populations of wild tigers have agreed to work together in order to combat the illegal trade in the big cats.
Heads of police and customs from 13 nations agreed to tighten controls and improve cross-border co-operation at a two-day meeting in Bangkok.
Only six subspecies remain, with fewer than 1,000 tigers in each group.
Smuggling of tiger parts is one of the main threats facing the planet’s remaining big cats, say experts.
The seminar in Thailand’s capital, organised by Interpol and hosted by the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), was attended by 26 senior crime officials and representatives from partner organisations, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
‘Natural heritage abuse’
“[Our efforts to fight tiger crime] must not just result in seizures – they must result in prosecutions, convictions and strong penalties to stop the flow of contraband,” said John Scanlon, Cites secretary general.
“If we get the enforcement system right for the tiger, we will help save countless other species together with their ecosystems.”
Jean-Michel Louboutin, Interpol’s executive director of police services, observed: “This important seminar has highlighted the environmental crime challenges facing senior law enforcement officers, and the need for enhanced international co-operation.
“Criminals cannot prosper from abusing our shared national heritage.”
Delegates also used the meeting to formally endorse the Interpol-led Project Predator.