Operation Jaguar is a joint project of IUCN Netherlands, Earth League International, and IFAW, and is made possible by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Jaguars are being poached and trafficked from multiple countries in Latin America destined for the Chinese market, to be sold as tiger’s parts. The most valued and trafficked parts of Jaguars are their fangs. These are considered to be valid substitutes to tiger’s canines due to their very large size. As a matter of fact, in Chinese jaguars are called “American tigers”. For millennia, Chinese medicine has ascribed magical powers and medical properties to tiger bones and teeth.

Jaguars are listed in Appendix I of CITES, as they are endangered species; the increased poaching thereof as a result of this illicit trade is becoming a severe threat for their survival. In response to this growing threat ELI has started a three-year intelligence-gathering project, in collaboration with IUCN Netherlands and IFAW, designed to map the illegal supply chain, identify the main players, and help local and international law enforcement agencies to address this important conservation and crime issue. The initial target countries are Bolivia, Suriname and Guyana, but we are expanding the work to two more countries.

Operation Jaguar Earth League International
ELI’s graphic novels project – Operation Jaguar


To achieve this, we are working on the following interventions:

  • Collecting and analyzing information
  • Improving protection of jaguar habitats
  • Professionalizing law enforcement systems
  • Mobilizing the public and politicians
Operation Jaguar - Earth League International
Operation Jaguar – jaguar’s fangs offered to our team

Our intelligence-gathering operation on jaguar trafficking is the most important undercover operation ever conducted on this issue. Operation Jaguar is an active operation, therefore most of the information collected so far cannot be shared with the public yet.

The main objectives of our intelligence-gathering operation are:
– to unveil the dynamics underneath jaguar trafficking in Target Countries, the main players, the modus operandi, and the paths and methods used to smuggle the jaguar’s parts into mainland China.
– to produce actionable intelligence that government agencies can use to disrupt the supply chain and take out the main drivers and enablers