GUWAHATI, July 25: There is urgent need for intensive and sustained vigil against wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade by the forest, police and other enforcement agencies in the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh that has long borders with China and Myanmar.
Stating this on Monday, country’s one of the top-bracket conservation leaders and the CEO of Aaranyak, Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar flagged that clandestine global illegal wildlife trade has reached an alarming proportion and it has become the fourth largest illegal trade in the global arena after drugs, arms and human trafficking. Dr Talukdar was addressing a workshop on ‘Deterring Wildlife Crime and Reducing Wildlife Trade’ at the Divisional Forest Office of D’Ering Wildlife Sanctuary in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh.
The workshop was attended by police officials of East Siang district and forest officials of Pasighat division. It was organized jointly by D’ Ering WLS Division and Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org), a premier biodiversity conservation organisation that has been working in the field since 1989.
Earlier, Makam Tayeng, a local conservationist and a member of Arunachal Pradesh State Board of Wildlife, welcomed all the participants and resource persons.
Dr. Talukdar mentioned that the Northeast India has diverse terrains due to altitudinal gradients and as such harbours a vast array of unique and threatened species of flora and fauna. “Being custodian of such a rich natural heritage, a combined effort to conserve key biodiversity areas in Arunachal Pradesh is needed. Creating awareness among the diverse sections of people and enhance coordination among various agencies are essential to achieve this goal,” he said.
“To check illegal wildlife crime, which has attributes that may contribute towards socio-political unrest and pose threat to national security, prevention of wildlife trade has to be a top most priority using various legal means,” Dr Talukdar emphasised.
Dr. Jimmy Borah, senior manager of Legal and Advocacy Division (LAD) of Aaranyak, highlighted that Asia has all the wild population of tigers, Asian elephants and other such threatened species and as such the region is also under scanner of illegal wildlife traders. He highlighted that increasing trend of illegal killing of pangolins in North Eastern States of India along with elephants with tusks called for the urgent to gather intelligence by the police and forest officials to prevent the wildlife crime.
He raised alarm about likely spread of zoonotic diseases through the increasing trend of wildlife trafficking in North Eastern States of India if illegal wildlife trafficking was not checked proactively.
He mentioned about special drive launched by Interpol in recent years to check illegal wildlife crime throughout the globe in order to check wildlife trade.
The police and forest officials present in the workshop interacted with Dr. Talukdar and Dr. Borah on various legal means especially effective use of various sections of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
The Divisional Forest officer of D’ Ering WLS lauded Aaranyak and persuaded it to organise more such workshops in the State for the benefit of forest and police officials.
The workshop ended with vote of thanks from Range officer Domek Koyu.