Enforcement Not Extinction
Zero tolerance on tiger trade
February 16, 2012
The International Tiger Forum held in November 2010 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, provides an exciting opportunity. Convened by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, leaders of Tiger Range Countries (TRC) endorsed a declaration and Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) to double the tiger population by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger, setting the tone for future national and global efforts.
Many of the strategies advocated in the Forum have been proposed repeatedly since the last Year of the Tiger. Some are older still. On paper they appear objective, logical, and scientific—yet governments have failed to implement them thoroughly or consistently. Will this time be any different? Can world leaders rise to the challenge and deliver meaningful action, not simply fine words?
Drawing on Environmental Investigation Agency’s experience of investigating the illegal trade in consumer countries, this position paper highlights the key recommendations on law enforcement that have consistently been made over the years and examines the possible underlying reasons why they have not yet been implemented. Accepting that these enforcement recommendations are still key to the survival of the wild tiger, we identify actions that governments can take to overcome those obstacles and demonstrate real progress and change on the ground.
We call upon governments to prioritise the following:
- Secure greater involvement of police and Customs officers in tiger and other Asian big cat conservation
- Reduce demand for tiger and other Asian big cat parts
- Expand the use of intelligence-led enforcement in combating tiger trade
- Improve international cooperation to disrupt transnational criminal networks
- Continue with reform of judicial processes
- Increase resources to combat wildlife crime
- Improve the motivation of enforcement personnel
- Tackle corruption in wildlife crime