Stimulated by the discovery of a 'lost' tiger population in their mountains Bhutan government took this responsibility very seriously and co-organised and hosted the 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation in late October this year in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Ministers from the 13 tiger range countries discussed key achievements in implementing the 12-year strategy of the GTRP and also issued guidance on continuing momentum and ensure continued high-level political support.
In addition to this high-level meeting Bhutan now offers to host an international conference in 2013 on the protection of cultural property. This offer was presented by chief of the Royal Bhutan Police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, during his visit to the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters on November 13. “The Royal Bhutan Police is committed to protecting the cultural heritage of our country, our region and also the world, and working with INTERPOL to host this conference will help bring greater focus to a type of crime which affects us all as a society,” said Brigadier Namgyel.
Bhutan has already worked closely with INTERPOL, the world police body, in combating wildlife and environmental crime through Project Predator, providing support to a series of interventions, including Operation Prey earlier this year which led to nearly 40 arrests and the seizure of a range of wildlife goods including big cat skins, rhino horn, ivory and seahorses in addition to flora such as protected orchid and cactus plants.
With illegal activities in Bhutan hopefully still in its infancy, Royal Bhutan government is being proactive and supportive with their commitment to the global policing community. So Bhutan may be small, it acts big!
(Source: BBC Earth News, 20.09.2010; Global Tiger Initiative, 15.10.2012; INTERPOL Media release, 13.11.2012; WWF report Tiger Conservation Enhancement in Bhutan, 2002-2003)