INTERPOL - Project Wisdom


In 1990, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) introduced a ban on international ivory sales, as from 1979 to 1989 the worldwide demand for ivory caused elephant populations to decline to dangerously low levels, and the trade of illegal ivory continues. In addition, rhinoceros poaching in Africa, driven by the illegal trade of rhinoceros horns, has substantially increased.

INTERPOL created an initiative to conserve elephants and rhinos through Project WISDOM. The project supports and enhances the governance and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of elephants and rhinoceros.

The Project has three aims:

  • Organize collaborative, high-level international efforts to improve political will
  • Transform this will into departmental support
  • Train officers in the necessary skills

The Project will call upon countries to establish National Environmental Task Forces that will be connected regionally and internationally through INTERPOL. These task forces will encourage the use of modern intelligence-led enforcement practices for elephant and rhinoceros conservation.


  • Encourage communication, cooperation and collaboration with respect to intelligence exchange, cross-border investigations, and better training
  • Contribute to the apprehension of criminals and organized groups
  • Development of a global picture of the criminal activity affecting the ongoing conservation of elephants and rhinoceros
  • Improve the quality of criminal justice response to this type of crime


Interpol will conduct seminars for senior level law enforcement representatives from countries where the illegal activities and environmental incidents have been identified.

The aim is to empower and instil ownership of the issue into the entire departmental structure.

Local authorities need to consider that responding to wildlife crime is their common and unchallenged role. Linking wildlife crime to issues associated with national security, economy and health is fundamental to achieving this result.