INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) and WCO (World Customs Organization) conducted Operation Thunder, 2020 across 103 countries. Operation Thunder was conducted against environmental crimes in the world.

Operation Thunder 2020

Operation Thunder 2020 edition was held from 14 September – 11 October 2020. The Operation resulted in large seizures of protected forestry and wildlife specimen. This triggered arrests and investigations world-wide including India.

Operation Thunder in India

Indian Customs along with INTERPOL and WCO seized 18 tonnes of red sandalwood that were destined for United Arab Emirates. The seizures included 1.3 tonnes of ivory, 1 tonnes of pangolin scales, 1,700 killed pangolins, 87 truckloads of timber, 56,200 kg of marine products and 15,878 kg of plants.

  • 1.3 tonnes of ivory
  • 1 tonne of pangolin scales, representing nearly 1,700 killed pangolins
  • 56,200 kilogram of marine products
  • 87 truckloads of timber (950 tonnes)
  • 15,878 kilogram of plants

Operation Thunder recovered 45,000 live animals. This included 6,000 tortoise eggs, 1,600 birds, 1400 turtles, 1,800 reptiles.


According to international agency INTERPOL, wildlife and forestry crime is the 4th largest illegal trade in the world. It often occurs in corruption, tax evasion, money laundering.

About the Operation Thunder

Since 2017 Operation Thunder was held. Under the operation Thunder, the participating countries focused on particularly vulnerable species protected under CITES. CITES stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora.


Across the world, illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be $20 billion in a single year.

Other Operations by INTERPOL

Agency is conducting several other operation to protect the wildlife. They are as follows

About Project Predator

In 2010, Project Predator was enforced. The Project Predator focuses on big cats and other wildlife. It assists its member countries to organise transnational operations, providing investigative support, intelligence gathering etc.

About Project Wisdom

It focuses on mainly elephants and rhinoceros. White Rhino horn is reduced to powder and used in traditional medicines. Ivory is carved out and sold as artifact. Ivory is a white material from the tusks and teeth of animals. The Project supports its member countries in preventing hunting of elephants and rhinos.

About Operation Thunderbird

Operation Thunderbird mainly focuses on tackling illegal trade in timber and wildlife. Since 2017, Operation Thunderbird is being conducted.

About Operation Worthy II

Operation Worthy II targets on ivory trafficking in African continent. Since 2015 Operation Worthy II is being held.

About Operation PAWS

Operation PAWS is Protection of Asian Wildlife Species. Since 2015 Operation PAWS is being implemented. Operation Thunder 2020 INTERPOL