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Interpol Joins Push to Save Asian Tigers


A Royal Bengal tiger roars at the Dhaka zoo at Mirpur district in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2003 file photo)

A Royal Bengal tiger roars at the Dhaka zoo at Mirpur district in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2003 file photo)

The International Police Organization has launched a campaign to help save the world's last surviving tigers in 13 Asian countries where the giant cats still exist.

Interpol said the project will link international wildlife officials with customs and law enforcement officers in Russia, China, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent to combat poaching and smuggling of tiger parts used in expensive traditional medicines.

The initiative, Project Predator, was unveiled this week at an annual Interpol conference, held this year in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.

Experts say the global tiger population has declined from about 100,000 at the dawn of the 20th century to fewer than 3,500 today. The decline has been attributed to both poaching and loss of habitat.

The tiger campaign announcement follows reports last week that the critically endangered Javan rhinoceros population has been wiped out in Vietnam, after the last surviving one was found dead at a national park with its horn cut off.

The only remaining such population - some 50 Javan rhinos - is found in a remote part of Indonesia.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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