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This World Wildlife Day let’s take a look at wildlife crimes in India

  • Published
    4th Mar, 2022
Context

The Union government has cut the funds released under three flagship wildlife schemes even though poaching remains rampant.

About

What is wildlife crime?

  • According to International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), wildlife crime refers to acts committed contrary to national laws and regulations intended to protect natural resources and to administer their management and use.
  • This includes the illicit exploitation of natural resources, such as poaching of animals and unauthorized logging of trees.
  • It may also include subsequent acts, such as the processing of fauna and flora into products, their transportation, sale and possession.
  • Wildlife offenders can be divided into two groups –
  • The poachers or hunters who kill or capture wild animals or collect wild plants
  • Persons trading, buying hunted and/or captured animals or its body parts or derivatives or collected plants or its parts or derivatives, for own consumption or for sale.
  • Major wildlife crime in India includes poaching of tigers, rhinos and the sale of Star tortoises.

Reasons for upsurge of Illegal Wildlife Trade in India

  • Illegal wildlife trade is driven mainly by the huge profits earned by the traders.
  • Low risk and low penalties make the trade highly lucrative.
  • Unlike other conventional crimes, no stigma is attached to the offenders who commit wildlife crimes.
  • Wealthy markets in Asia, Europe, USA and the Middle East are the force driving the illegal trade of wildlife.
  • Craze for ornaments made of animal body parts (ivory, tiger teeth/bones), use of animal body parts or plants in traditional medicines, keeping the skins or horns or antlers as status symbols, cultural beliefs or even superstitious beliefs are other factors driving the illegal trade in wildlife and their parts & products.

About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau:

  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • The Bureau has it’s headquarter in New Delhi and five regional offices at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Jabalpur.
  • Under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated
    • to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and
    • to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals;
    • to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank;
    • co-ordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act;
    • assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control;
    • capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and
    • assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes; and
    • Advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
  • It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
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