Illegal wildlife trade is a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise that has a devastating impact on endangered animal populations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an estimated 23 metric tons of illegal ivory were seized in 2011. That represents the slaughter of 2,500 elephants. Rhino poaching averaged nearly one per day in 2010 in South Africa alone. Poaching threatens the estimated 3,200 tigers that remain in the wild.
The International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) is helping law enforcement to fight back. More than 30 law enforcement officers from Asia, Africa and the United States recently gathered at the ILEA in Bangkok to share new information and technology for better cross-border investigations into poaching gangs, wildlife traffickers and black-market dealers.
The ILEA in Bangkok, one of five around the world, is administered by the U.S. Department of State in cooperation with the government of Thailand. Its mission is to provide high-quality training to law enforcement and foster strong partnerships among countries in the fight against crime.
Here, a Bengal tiger looks out from its cage in Bangkok after police arrested a suspect for the tiger’s capture and for the suspect's role in one of the country's largest tiger-trafficking rings.