Seven exotic primates and drugs seized in southern Assam
- November 16, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Seven exotic primates and drugs seized in southern Assam
- The police in southern Assam’s Hailakandi and Cachar districts seized seven exotic primates, narcotic drugs worth ₹10 crore and Burmese areca nuts and foreign-made cigarettes — both illegal commodities — in hidden chambers of trucks.
More in news-
- Wildlife officials have not been able to identify the species but they are endangered and not Indian.
- At least 175 other exotic mammals, reptiles and birds seized in Assam since September.
- The Cachar police seized 54,000 tablets of Yaba, a narcotic drug.
- The police in Cachar district’s Lailapur also seized two trucks and seized a total of 3,505 kg of Burmese areca nuts.
Illegal Wildlife trafficking (IWT)-
- IWT describes any environment-related crime that involves the illegal trade, smuggling, poaching, capture or collection of endangered species, protected wildlife (including animals and plants that are subject to harvest quotas and regulated by permits), derivatives or products thereof.
- The IWT involves poachers, armed non-state actors from source nations, international crime groups and institutional corruption across global network chains and a range of players involved in demand countries – from organized crime syndicates and non-state actors to legitimate authorities.
Drivers for the demand of wildlife trafficking-
- Demand in Zoo, parks and personal desire
- perceived medicinal value of some products
- social status
- Ignorant tourists who purchase souvenirs or pets to take home
- Indian star tortoise has become the most trafficked tortoise worldwide because of its high demand as a pet
Implications of IWT-
- Compromises the security of countries
- Profits can be used to finance civil conflicts and terrorist-related activities.
- Hinders sustainable social and economic development
- Reduce the effectiveness of governments
- Deter civil engagement
- Erode the rule of law
- Harm the reputation of and trust in the state
- Affect the growth of local communities
- Destroys natural wealth
Situation in India-
- Emerged as a form of organised transnational crime that has threatened the existence of many wild species across the globe.
- A large part of this trade is meant for the international market and has no direct demand in India.
- The main consumer markets are China and South East Asia, but wildlife—alive or as body parts— is also smuggled to the Gulf, Europe and Northern America.
- Beyond India, the main transit countries are Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
- Commonly smuggled wildlife species are-
- Tiger and leopard skins, their bones and other body parts, rhino horns, ivory, turtles and tortoises, sea horses, snake venom, mongoose hair, snake skins, tokay gecko, sea cucumber, chiru fleece, musk pods, bear bile, medicinal plants, red sanders timber and caged birds such as parakeets, mynas and munias.
Legal and Statutory Provisions to Curb IWT in India
- Trade in over 1,800 species of wild animals, plants and their derivative is prohibited under the country’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Since 1976, India has also been a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora, an international agreement that aims to ensure that global trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
- 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. Under Section 38 (Z) of 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 a 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 policies and laws.
- It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in the inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
- Further, to bring legal wildlife trade within sustainable levels and stop all illegal wildlife trade that has threatened and even pushed many species towards extinction, TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network and a joint programme of WWF, (the global conservation organization) and IUCN, (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) works closely with the National and the State Governments and various agencies to help study, monitor and influence action to curb illegal wildlife trade and bring wildlife trade within sustainable levels.
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) led operations
- It had launched the operation “Save Kurma” to focus on the poaching, transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises.
- “Operation Turtshield- I”andOperation Turtshield-II” was taken up to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles.
- WCCB conducted Operation “Lesknow”, “Lesknow-II” and Operation “Lesknow-III” to gain the attention of enforcement agencies towards the illegal wildlife trade in lesser-known species of wildlife.
- WCCB’s “Operation Clean Art” to drag the attention of enforcement agencies towards the illegal wildlife trade in Mongoose hair brushes.
- “Operation Softgold” to tackle Shahtoosh Shawl(made from Chiru wool) illegal trade and to spread awareness among the weavers and traders engaged in this trade.
- Operation Birbil to curb illegal trade in wild cat and wild bird species.
- “Operation Wildnet”, “Operation Wildnet-II”, “Operation Wildnet-III” and “Operation Wildnet-IV” to draw the attention of the enforcement agencies within the country to focus their attention on the ever-increasing illegal wildlife trade over internet using social media platforms.
- “Operation Freefly” on the illegal trade of live birds and “Operation Wetmark” to ensure the prohibition of the sale of meat of wild animals in wet markets across the country.
Campaign- Not All Animals Migrate by Choice
- In collaboration with the Airports Authority of India and GMR Group, the campaign will travel across 22 airports across India over the next year.
- Both WCCB and UN Environment initiated a comprehensive approach with a focus on awareness building of various stakeholders towards the issue of prevention of illegal trade and smuggling of wildlife and wildlife products through exit points.
- In the first phase of the campaign, tiger, pangolin, star tortoise and tokay gecko have been taken as flagship species as they are highly endangered.
- The awareness campaign is expected to complement the efforts of Government Agencies.