Trafficking of wild animals

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Trafficking of wild animals

  • As per the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and State Forest and Police Authorities between 2018 and 2020 about 2054 cases were registered for killing or illegal trafficking of wild animals in India.

Species-specific enforcement operations

Save Kurna:

  • WCCB had launched Operation “Save Kurma” from 15th December 2016 to 30th January 2017.
  • Its aim is to focus on:
  • poaching,
  • transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises.

Operation Turtshield:

  • Another operation “Operation Turtshield- I” from 1st December 2019 to 31st January 2020 and Operation Turtshield-II” (1st December 2020 to 28th February 2021) was taken up.
  • Its aim was to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles.

Operation Lesknow:

  • WCCB conducted Operation “Lesknow” (1st August 2017 to 31st Aug 2017), “Lesknow-II” (1st September 2018 to 30th September 2018) and Operation “Lesknow-III” (1st September, 2019 to 30th September 2019)
  • Its focus was to gain attention of enforcement agencies towards the illegal wildlife trade in lesser-known species of wildlife.

Operation Clean Art:

  • It was launched by WCCB in October 2019.
  • Its aim was to drag attention of enforcement agencies towards illegal wildlife trade in Mongoose hair brushes

Operation Softgold:

  • It was in operation from 1st October, 2018 to 31st March, 2019
  • Its aim was 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:

  • Its aim was to curb illegal trade in wild cat and wild bird species.
  • It resulted in 23 cases being detected during the operation out of which 9 cases involved seizure of different bird species.

Operation Wildnet:

  • It aimed 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:

  • Its focus was on illegal trade of live birds

Operation Wetmark:

  • Its focus was to ensure prohibition of sale of meat of wild animals in wet markets across the country.

Impact of Illegal Wildlife Trade

  • Species face extinction because of demands arising out of illegal wildlife trade.
  • Overexploitation of the wildlife resources due to its illegal trade creates imbalances in the ecosystem.
  • Wild plants that provide genetic variation for crops are threatened by the illegal trade.
  • Illegal wildlife trade as part of the illegal trade syndicates undermines the economy of the country and thereby creates social insecurity.

Steps Taken

  • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Protected Areas like National Parks, Biodiversity Reserves, etc. were created
  • Project Tiger: Initiated in 1972. It helped in the conservation of both tigers and the entire ecosystem.
  • Project Elephant: Initiated in 1992 with the aim of conserving elephants and their habitat and of migratory routes by developing scientific and planned management measures.
  • Crocodile Conservation Project: The main objectives of the crocodile project is to protect the remaining population of crocodiles and their natural habitat by establishing sanctuaries.
  • UNDP Sea Turtle Project: To conserve the Olive Ridley Turtles. Initiated by Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun as the Implementing Agency in 1999.
  • Cheetah Reintroduction Programme in Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh from Namibia.
  • Vulture Conservation: National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared a plan for conserving vultures.
  • India Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020: The goal of IRV2020 was to increase the rhino population in Assam to 3,000 by establishing populations in new areas.
  • Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010 have been drafted to protect wetlands in India.
  • Related Organisations: Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Central Zoo Authority, National Tiger Conservation Authority, Wildlife SOS, Wildlife Trust of India, Wildlife Institute of India, Aaranyak, Nature Conservation Foundation, etc.
  • Citizens' participation: The Prime Minister called for active participation of people in conservation efforts.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution states that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and Wildlife.
  • Article 48 A in the Directive Principles of State policy, mandates that the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.