29 November 2011 The head of the United Nations-backed convention on endangered species praised today a new global initiative launched by the World Bank and the international police organization Interpol to protect the world’s last surviving wild tigers.
“We are heartened by this initiative which has our full support,” said John E. Scanlon, Secretary –General of the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
“The work of Interpol and the World Bank, and the collective efforts of the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime, is critical to the effective implementation of CITES measures for the protection of tigers.”
The initiative, Project Predator, will provide training to law enforcement agencies to combat illegal trade and other tiger-related crimes, and strengthen their ability to work with wildlife officials by using advanced methods of investigation.
Poached for their skins for decorative purposes, or for their body parts for medicinal uses, tigers still suffer significantly from illegal trade. A majority of tigers are now restricted to small pockets of habitat, while several geographical populations are on the brink of extinction. According to CITES, less than 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, compared to 100,000 in the early 1900s.
The partnership under the Global Tiger Initiative will bring together 13 so-called “tiger range” countries as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
In a news release, CITES said Project Predator will be further complemented through a seminar on tiger crime organized by the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime to be held in Bangkok in February.
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