Posts Tagged ‘poaching’

Everyone who makes films has to be an athlete to a certain degree because cinema does not come from abstract academic thinking; it comes from your knees and thighs” – film-maker and documentarian Werner Herzog.

On Tuesday, September 6, three powerful new films chronicling EIA’s recent undercover investigations into timber smuggling, the ivory trade and whaling will make their world debut in the USA on Nat Geo Wild.

Paul Redman and Clare Perry filming in a Japanese fish market (c) EIA

Broadcast under the collective banner of Crimes Against Nature, Blood Ivory depicts the brutal horror of elephant poaching in Kenya and black market trade in the marketplaces of Hong Kong and China; Making a Killing exposes Iceland’s hunting of endangered fin whales to package and sell for consumption in Japan; and Chainsaw Massacre uncovers the Vietnamese army’s involvement in the widespread smuggling of timber from neighbouring Laos.

Each film follows seasoned EIA investigators in the field as they methodically piece together the clues of wildlife and forest crime and follow evidence trails leading to corrupt officialdom, organised criminal syndicates and grasping businessmen. Along the way, viewers will share the setbacks and successes in films rich with imagery both startling and haunting.

What they won’t see, and possibly won’t suspect, is the long year of preparations and often physically and emotionally demanding work behind the scenes to get three one-hour films in the can.

The project effectively began in 2009, following EIA’s tiger team in China and Nepal for a pilot film eventually broadcast early last year on Nat Geo Wild as Eco Crime Investigators – Inside the Tiger Trade.

The broadcast, first in the USA and subsequently worldwide (and it’s still in heavy rotation), was such a success that further programmes were commissioned.

On location in Kenya with Mary Rice and Dave Currey (c) EIA

Initial meetings with the London-based production company hired by Nat Geo to make the films focused on the likely scope of the three investigations, the probable shooting times and budget requirements for each, and a loose schedule around which investigators would have to fit all their usual campaign work and commitments.

It was in October 2010, when filming was concluded in Iceland and underway in Vietnam, that I was brought onboard as Project Co-ordinator; you could draw up a job description for the role which might run to several sides of A4, or you could just as accurately say my primary function was to help ease the process along as required.

Both EIA and the production company shared the same goal – to make the best programmes possible; naturally, both came at it with different considerations to the fore. The nature of conducting investigations in the field is that you never know what’s going to turn up and where it might lead; the nature of film-making is that you have to satisfy those commissioning the venture that they’re going to end up with a solid narrative arc and a substantial conclusion, preferably before shooting begins.

From the word ‘go’, EIA was adamant that its investigators would not serve as props, nor would they be mouthpieces for scripted lines which might in any way reflect poorly or inaccurately on the organisation, its methodology or its invaluable work. At the same time, we accepted that the film-makers needed to distil often-complex issues in a way that was accurate and wouldn’t leave viewers scratching their collective brows and reaching for the remote control. Looking at the finished products (and I believe I must have done so a score of times for each!), I think it’s fair to say this was achieved remarkably well.

In the field was where problems could most easily arise as directors fretted that they wouldn’t get the key shots they needed within the timeframe allowed, or when they were debriefing an investigator following an emotionally exhausting undercover filming session and needed the same kind of projected energy on take seven as was given the first time around. But our investigators are nothing if not troopers – and on many occasions during this project they were fixers and guides too – and the passion they have for their various campaigns all but radiates from the screen.

Julian Newman interviewed during filming in Laos (c) EIA

When location filming concluded by late March, it remained to fine-tune the narratives, film interviews with the key campaigners and nail down the voice-over and visual inserts such as animated maps..

With security the key consideration for EIA, this was also the time for me to go through each film with a fine toothcomb and ensure that the identity of our undercover Chinese investigator was protected at all times; you’d be amazed at how often somebody’s features can be fleetingly reflected in background mirrors and table tops.

All that remains now is for you to watch the films, and help EIA by spreading the word for others to do the same.

* After the US premiere on Tuesday, the three programmes are due to be broadcast on Nat Geo Wild in other territories, including the UK, later this year – watch our website and blog for details as we learn them.

Paul Newman, Press OfficerPaul Newman

Press Officer


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Tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park, India. © studio tygrrr, 2011

Tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park, India. © studio tygrrr, 2011

I’m now back at EIA from India. I’ll have to agree with a colleague on my lack of any kind of suntan, as I spent most of my time positioned firmly out of the sunshine, indoors, attending a suite of tiger conferences which included the release of India’s latest tiger census figures.

Recently, Debbie filled you in on these events by way of her blog Reading Between the Tiger Numbers. And yes, quite possibly the award for “most memorable moment” of the conference, along with the release of the census figures, goes to the Chinese delegation’s apparent reliance on NGOs to prove the existence of the illegal tiger trade in China – rather than proactively undertaking the investigations that could uncover and combat the underground trade (and help raise tiger numbers even higher).

Tigress T17, Ranthambore National Park, India. © Charlotte Davies / EIA

Tigress T17, Ranthambore National Park, India. © Charlotte Davies / EIA

But I also remember another comment. At a time where so much of the natural world is either being parcelled out or branded with an economic value; where it seems to me we’re dangerously close to living in a world where everything is being eyed up as a potential commodity – or at the very least, where commercial value trumps all other ways of defining and understanding our relationships with the world – one observation from a participant gave me hope.  That participant spoke about the importance of engaging with and promoting the spiritual value of nature, as a means to conserving it.

Ranthambore National Park, India at sunset. © Charlotte Davies / EIA

Ranthambore National Park, India at sunset. © Charlotte Davies / EIA

For me, simultaneously experiencing and being part of the natural world is a spiritual experience, and I believe that’s also the case for millions, if not billions, of other people. Many different faiths have teachings relating to nature, and idea of people experiencing nature “together” has a marvellously unifying force.

So whilst in India, I did manage to greet the open air in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan. My internal marvellings at the rugged silvery landscape, the unique light (perfect for painters, I reckon) and the wildlife we saw were simultaneously reflected out loud by my travelling companions in our jeep.

We’d set out very early in the morning. As our jeep wound along the dust road, we turned a corner and suddenly ground to a halt. Just ahead, an imposing male tiger was marking a tree. We had suddenly found ourselves in his territory. My heart leapt, my legs ran to jelly, and every last bit of breath left my body. Frozen, we watched as the tiger turned and started walking towards us. And he kept on coming. Slowly, we backed up.

It all seems to be in slow motion now. After many incredibly, what must have been long seconds, he changed course and climbed into the bank of bushes next to him. Craning my neck, I caught one last glimpse – he’d turned and paused so I could see him side-on. One gliding movement was all it took for his stripes to literally melt into the foliage and dissolve away.

Then of course we all turned to each other and couldn’t say very much. So that was a “shared moment”.

(And I eventually remembered to breathe again.)

Tigress T17 casts a shadow in Ranthambore National Park, India. © Charlotte Davies / EIA

Tigress T17 casts a shadow in Ranthambore National Park, India. © Charlotte Davies / EIA

I read one definition of “the Sublime”, as a concept, being something that inspires both fear and awe. We’ll always remember the experiences that lift our spirits – in fact, reveal our spirits. Pointing that out is nothing new. The originality lies in the truly endless opportunities the natural world offers to have such experiences, whether it’s seeing a wild tiger in India or experiencing the first bursts of spring here in the UK.

EIA’s vision is a future where humanity respects, protects and celebrates the natural world for the benefit of all.

Charlotte Davies, Intelligence Analyst

Charlotte Davies

Intelligence Analyst

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Copyright istock.And so, as we slink silently from Year of the Tiger and bound into the Year of the Rabbit, we pause to reflect on whether the last twelve months have been truly auspicious for the great cat, have we turned a corner, can we look to 2022 and the next Year of the Tiger with hope?

The Global Tiger Recovery Program, adopted in St Petersburg last year by the governments of countries where tigers live, sets out the broad brush stroke actions they are committed to, in order to double the wild tiger population by 2022. Last year, we reported on how many of these promises have been made before, and already we are starting to see cracks in this road to recovery.

The beleaguered Minister of Environment & Forests for India, Jairam Ramesh, constantly has to defend forests from industrial encroachment. Having boldly declared no-go, hands-off forest areas to stop the coal miners from ripping them up, today he was forced by louder voices in the cabinet to concede a significant amount. Where was the Prime Minister during these cabinet decisions? What of his government’s commitment in the St Petersburg Declaration to tiger and biodiversity-compatible management of forest corridors and landscapes?

Credit Mike VickersMeanwhile in Burma, the authorities are hunting down the activist who blew the whistle on the colonisation of forest by a private corporation in the Hukawng Valley, which was only recently declared the world’s largest tiger reserve. Villagers have been turfed out to make way for sugar cane plantations. How does this fulfil the commitment in the St Petersburg Declaration to engage local communities, let alone ensure the security of tiger habitat?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so at EIA we’re baking a cake. The ingredients are all the positive and negative decisions governments make following the St Petersburg meeting, all the incidents of forest rescue or forest destruction, poaching and trade, convictions, intelligence sharing or lack thereof. If you want to help us, feel free to email us with verified reports of the good and the bad, and lets see what we can turn out.

My own tiger guru, Valmik Thapar, recently gave a talk at Asia House in London about the tiger in Indian art. Really, he was talking about the Cult of the Tiger; of the value and role of the tiger in hearts and minds, expressed through rituals, dance, paintings and sculptures dating back centuries.

Perhaps the Year of the Tiger, symbolic of bravery and competitiveness helped the tiger jostle for position on the political agenda. Maybe the Year of the Rabbit, symbolic of creativity, compassion and sensitivity will help us touch the values of those who live with tigers and reignite a cult that can save the cat from extinction?

A combination of the two might be good, and thanks go to my colleague Debby Ng, for sharing reference to such a symbolic creature, the Sumatran Striped Rabbit.

And finally, we have teamed up with Born Free and WildAid, for the fundraising event of the year, all in aid of the wild tiger. You can find out more about it here. Within the last hours Jimmy Choo has confirmed. Be in with the chance of winning two tickets in our raffle draw.

Debbie Banks

Debbie Banks

Senior Campaigner

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Pangolin. S Megan 2007 - WikiMedia CommonsI’ve been reading about a pangolin trafficking operation, described in a recent report by TRAFFIC Southeast Asia1. Sabah Wildlife Department’s raid on a warehouse used by a pangolin trafficking syndicate recovered several logbooks used by the dealers. These books revealed that the criminals meticulously recorded their trafficking activities – being the details of approximately 22,200 pangolins, all of which they’d sourced and trafficked in less than two years. While providing a unique insight into the pangolin trade, this case really exemplifies what levels of organisation can be involved in wildlife trafficking.

And the status of pangolins, or scaly anteaters (see examples here) exemplifies the consequences of human encroachment, habitat degradation and destruction, over-hunting and poaching. Pangolins are poached because there are big markets for their body parts. Their characteristic scales are used in traditional medicine, their skins for clothing accessories, their meat for cuisine. There’s a variety of medicinal properties ascribed to pangolin derivatives, including pangolin foetus soup for sexual stamina. Perhaps the pangolin is a victim of not just human vanity and desire, but also of the human imagination.

When I began as an analyst I was started off in vehicle crime investigation. It’s considered a “volume crime” – chances are some of you are car-owners, so perhaps you’ve had a car stereo stolen – or even a whole car. Looking at volume crime is considered a good way to get analytical pups exploring trends, geographical clusters of crime, effects of the surrounding environment on incidence, and so on. Quite a lot of vehicle crime is opportunistic and depends heavily on the protection measures in place in particular locations. You could even call it “subsistence crime” as it involves stealing just enough from a vehicle to cover expenses like a drug habit, or stealing a car for a quick joy ride. Yet there’s also evidence suggesting large-scale, highly organised thefts to order, and a lucrative, transnational trade in stolen vehicles.

So if we’re looking for an example of volume crime in the wildlife trade, pangolins fit the bill. Certainly the pangolin trade is one of the starkest examples of the commodification of wildlife. They’re described as one of the most frequently-seized species in South East Asia. We’ve seen above that their body parts are put to multiple uses, and that there are different drivers for this demand: different industries all demand pangolin corpses. They are seized all over the region, both alive and dead, intact or in pieces, sometimes frozen for transportation purposes.  When seizures in excess of twenty tonnes are reported, as in Vietnam in early 2008, then this points to a lucrative, transnational trade of catastrophic proportions.

Poachers report that it’s increasingly difficult to find pangolins, and put this scarcity down to over-hunting. We know what happens next: when the “commodity” becomes rare, the price increases. This pushes up demand by bestowing a luxurious or elusive quality on to the product. Heightened demand drives more poaching, and the population crashes. This kind of scenario is reflected across the wildlife trade. It may help to explain why, by kilo, rhino horn is valued more highly than gold (gold being another natural substance that bewitches and fascinates us humans).

Tiger skin taken on an EIA investigation. Copyright EIALikewise during the Tiger Campaign investigation to China in 2009, EIA found that tiger skin traders were expecting greater demand – and therefore profits – for tiger skins traded in the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Interestingly, these traders were also aware that there were very few wild tigers remaining – yet didn’t appear to let the “endangered species” factor deter them. Likewise, some pangolin poachers have said they believe that pangolins will become extinct – whilst adding that they can’t stop their activities, because they are too well paid.

I’ve read that the genus name for pangolin, Manis, means a departed spirit or ghost, or a corpse. At the moment, this appears grimly apt.

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao

EIA attended the recent International Tiger Forum in St Petersburg, Russia and heard Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speak about the fight to save the wild tiger, and advocating the need for a change in human behaviour.  If I were to make a New Year’s wish for 2011, it would be for something similar. For a change in human consciousness to value wild over captive, the living over the dead. Some of the potential solutions to illegal trade are familiar. But they appear constrained by equally familiar stumbling blocks, like lack of investment and capacity, corruption, lack of communication, lack of trust. Where else have we encountered these issues? Across the illegal wildlife trade, across continents – even across different forms of crime. Let’s campaign to make these issues the ghosts – instead of pangolins, tigers, forests, and ultimately, ourselves. I hope in 2011, you’ll join EIA for the journey.

Charlotte Davies, Intelligence Analyst

Charlotte Davies

Intelligence Analyst

Reference 1: Sandrine Pantel and Noorainie Awang Anak (2010). A preliminary assessment of pangolin trade in Sabah. TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

For further information see also: Sandrine Pantel and Chin Sing Yun (ed.) (2009) Proceedings of the Workshop on Trade and Conservation of Pangolins Native to South and Southeast Asia, 30 June-2 July 2008, Singapore Zoo, Singapore. TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

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World Leaders at the International Tiger Forum

World Leaders at the International Tiger Forum

On return from the International Tiger Forum, away from the celebrities, the press and the hype,  Debbie Banks reflects on where the tiger is left after St Petersburg.

“No matter how pragmatic your strategy, how robust your evidence or how loud you shout; at the end of the day when it comes to saving wild tigers, it’s down to the political will of the leaders of the countries that tigers live in. They’re the ones that can direct resources towards policies, projects and operations that will lead to more effective enforcement, community engagement and prevent habitat destruction.

That’s why, after 14 years in tiger conservation and the wild tiger population at a mere 3200 animals, I can’t help but feel just a teensy bit positive after hearing five Prime Ministers speak at the International Tiger Forum in St Petersburg, Russia. They have indeed committed to doubling the wild tiger population by 2022; the next Year of the Tiger.

There’s never been a high level summit for the tiger before and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin really set the tone of the summit by talking about the value of the wild tiger, the forests it lives in and what that means for humanity.

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao

He and his counterparts, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Nepal’s Prime Minister Madhav Kumar and Laos PDR Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh all talked about the need to work together to save the tiger and end the tiger trade, with Wen committing China to “vigorously combat poaching, trade and smuggling of tiger products”. Music to our cynical conservationists’ ears.

Naomi Campbell & Ilya Lagutenko at the Tiger Forum

Naomi Campbell & Ilya Lagutenko at the Tiger Forum

The summit closed with a star-studded event hosted by Russia’s no.1 rock star Ilya Lagutenko and Naomi Campbell, with musicians from Malaysia and China. Putin spoke again about the tiger, from the heart and with humour, praising Leonardo DiCaprio for being a “real man” to persist in his efforts to get the concert despite two aircraft-related near-disasters. And one of the tiger’s real heroes, forest inspector, Anatoly Belov was honoured for his tiger protection efforts.

Earlier in the week the technical nitty gritty arising from 12 months of discussions was concluded with the formal adoption of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP), and the formal launch of the International Consortium for Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).

With a shortfall of $350m to implement the GTRP and ICCWC, tiger range countries had arrived in St Petersburg expecting the international community to put the money on the table; apart from India, which is investing well over a $1bn in tiger conservation over the next five years.

In the same week that an $80bn bailout was announced for the Celtic tiger, the donor community squirted out a measly $332m to save Asia’s tigers. It’s a paltry sum and much of it tied to climate and forest-related activities, some of it is in the form of loans, and only a little of it available for emergency enforcement responses. Nonetheless, it’s a start. It’s what happens now that the summit is over that is really important.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

Of course, there are immediate actions governments can take that are low cost and will go a long way to reversing the tigers fortunes. We believe that if the leaders take the following steps it will instil confidence in the public and donors that this Year of the Tiger marks that much-needed gear change in political will; which in turn could generate more financial support.

1) As a matter of priority, the leaders of tiger countries must broadcast a message to the nation, declaring their commitment to double the tiger populations and engage their public, the entire government and industry in the task. This would be a sign that the promises made in St Petersburg were real, and it won’t cost them a penny.

Tweeting from the Forum, Debbie Banks & Will Travers

Tweeting from the Forum, Debbie Banks & Will Travers

2) The leaders can demonstrate their commitment to ending the tiger trade by:

  • Immediately instructing all law enforcement agencies to provide intelligence on criminals engaged in the tiger trade to their INTERPOL National Central Bureau;
  • Assigning a senior police investigator in the INTERPOL National Central Bureau to work on tiger / wildlife crime on a fulltime basis;
  • Calling a round-table of the highest level decision-makers in police and Customs to ensure the right people attend a forthcoming tiger trade seminar and that wildlife crime is placed on the curricula of their training academies.

3) The leaders can send a clear signal to consumers of tiger parts that there will be zero tolerance on trade and they can remove any reason for speculation on the part of tiger farmers by:

  • Destroying stockpiles of tiger parts and derivatives;
  • Taking enforcement action to close down operations that leak parts and derivatives of captive bred tigers on to the market place.


Come and hear more about the summit from EIA, Born Free and WildAid, and how together we can turn words into action at the Saving Wild Tigers Forum on 7th December, 8.30pm at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR.

For more information click here and for tickets click here

For a copy of EIA’s latest report Enforcement not Extinction: Zero Tolerance on Tiger Trade, please click here.

Debbie Banks, Senior  Campaigner

Debbie Banks

Senior Campaigner

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Recently, I was interested to read about a physicist named John Archibald Wheeler. One of Wheeler’s theories was (put very basically) that everything is information. Meaning, literally, everything is information – that the deepest foundations of the universe are ultimately made up of nuggets of information, corresponding to a vast chorus of “yes” or “no” binary choices, from which all physical existence flows.

So this word ‘information’ no longer merely suggests something like ‘facts’ or ‘knowledge’. As information philosophy explains it, the word has now expanded to mean something greater – something that can even be described in biological, metaphysical, even cosmological terms. It’s said we’re living in an information age. In recent times, the concept of information has mutated to symbolise and represent many different things, and come to guide us into myriad new ways of thinking and doing. Likewise, in the enforcement world, the understanding that information exists, that it can be captured, expanded and enhanced to enable appropriate responses to illegal activity has also undergone an expansion in recent years.

This blog shows you that EIA has many activities, works with many tools. The gathering, analysing and sharing of information to identify and combat environmental crime is one shade in its palette. In the enforcement world, these processes use raw information as the starting ingredient; they connect, unite and enhance pieces of information into a more cohesive whole, called intelligence. The result of these actions should be a picture or a portrait of crime; where it’s happening, due to whom – and how to combat it. Intelligence-led action relies on profiling, investigation and consideration of targets – not random or superficial activity that isn’t informed by the situation on the ground. As EIA’s work cross-cuts enforcement and conservation concerns, we believe that intelligence-led enforcement is one thing which will help to preserve endangered species.

Faced with a haemorrhage of species from some of the most biodiverse areas on earth, we ask enforcement agencies to develop their applications of intelligence. Because we have seen that borders pose few barriers to a sophisticated and organised global trade, we ask that enforcement agencies and governments communicate, and share their information to dig down to the roots of the illegal trade, to effect substantial and lasting change.

Please click on image to see a larger version (Copyright EIA)

By linking different pieces of intelligence, a web of associations springs up. This composite i2® chart shows trans-Himalayan connections in the skin trade, revealed through skin seizure events and telephone records. EIA has used this tool to show the transnational nature of the skin trade to campaign for greater enforcement and international cooperation. Copyright EIA.

EIA’s own investigations have shown that those perpetuating the illegal trade operate within sophisticated and fluid networks. By necessity these are covert, shadowy, difficult to penetrate. Because EIA campaigns for change to protect the natural world from abuse perpetuated by networks such as these, we use i2® intelligence analysis software to depict the nature of criminal associations and transactions to governments and enforcement agencies. There needs to be a sophisticated approach to a sophisticated problem, and presenting information in a way law enforcement agencies understand is just one way of pushing environmental crime up the agenda. EIA has seen that the right information really is there – indeed everywhere – waiting to be captured and used to fight environmental crime.

It’s my hope that enforcement responses to environmental crime might reflect features that have been ascribed to the natural world. Vigour is needed, co-operation also. Some range states now have dedicated wildlife crime enforcement units; there are information sharing networks are operating. But species decline continues. The kingpins continue to operate undeterred. Traders tell us they anticipate increased demand for tiger skins in this, the Year of the Tiger.

The fabric of issues impacting upon environmental crime is complex. Decision makers need to dig deep into what causes and perpetuates these problems, and make real commitments to change. The International Tiger Forum in St Petersburg is forthcoming, in November.  So in the Year of the Tiger and beyond, let information be transformed into intelligent enforcement.

Charlotte Davies, Intelligence AnalystCharlotte Davies

Intelligence Analyst

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Big, beautiful Tigers!

It’s not often we get to report good news but we just burst into October with some that I have to share. My friend Balendu Singh, who lives near Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in India, posted pictures of a big beautiful hairy male tiger on his Facebook page on Day 1 (1st October 2010) of the post-monsoon season at the Reserve. Later that afternoon he saw a female elsewhere in the Reserve. It’s always a sigh of relief, when the park opens up after the monsoon, which is the poacher’s peak season, to see that life has continued! Well done to RTR staff. Now we just have to hope the big male stays away from his neighbour, a resident female and cubs, until she is ready to breed again.


Debbie's photo from Ranthambore - copyright EIA

Debbie's photo from Ranthambore


Though breeding is good. It’s all about the breeding. So long as the tigers who are happily breeding in protected areas have access to safe forest corridors to disperse into, and travel to find new mates, then there is hope.

That was the subject of lots of excitable chatter over the last week or so following the release of BBC’s Lost Land of the Tiger mini-series. Can Bhutan provide a corridor connecting the Terai Arc (Indo-Nepal) to the forests of Burma and thus the rest of South East Asia?

Bhutanese and Nepalese scientists have long documented the presence of tigers in the foothills of the Himalayas across Bhutan, they also documented the presence of high altitude tigers a decade ago, but nobody has obtained camera trap video footage of tigers resident at high altitude. Until now.

Over three action-packed episodes following an expedition of scientists, explorers and wildlife camera crew, the BBC brought some amazing footage into our homes; tigers showing territorial behaviour, including a lactating tigress, at over 4000m. Igniting the public imagination just at the right time, months before world leaders will convene in Russia to seal the wild tiger’s fate.

It’s down to the leaders of tiger range countries, when they meet at the end of November in Saint Petersburg, courtesy of Prime Minister Putin, to make the right commitments, to turn words into action and protect the forest areas that can save the wild tiger, to declare an end to all tiger trade and to assign the right people to bust up the criminal networks that control it.

That’s why last month EIA went to the 7th INTERPOL Environmental Crime Conference in Lyon. We were invited to present on what we thought the international police network could do to combat environmental crime. With the tiger summit looming, one of the things we proposed they could do (if they had the money!!) is establish “Tiger Desks”. Dedicated national police investigators assigned to gather and share criminal intelligence on the people involved in, or suspected of being involved in, transnational trade in tiger parts and derivatives.


Debbie Banks, Tiger Campaigner

Debbie Banks, Tiger Campaigner


Our proposal sparked some discussion about a much wider network of “Wildlife Desks”, and so we have sown a seed that we will do our best to help grow. With the INTERPOL General Assembly taking place early November in Doha, Qatar, there is a chance to persuade the budget holders and decision-makers of the INTERPOL National Central Bureaus, that they hold the key to combating wildlife crime globally, and in so doing, save tigers and everything they represent.

Debbie Banks

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