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WCCB-Aaranyak sensitises 99 SSB men on combating wildlife crime

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Aug 30: In a training workshop conducted at the Recruit Training Centre of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Salonibari, Tezpur, Assam, 99 senior and junior officials/personnel from the elite border guarding force were educated about the national and international implications of the escalating wildlife crimes.

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The workshop, titled ‘Preventing Wildlife Crime and Illegal Wildlife Trade’, was organised jointly by experts from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the prominent biodiversity conservation organisation Aaranyak, following an invitation from the SSB.

During the workshop, SSB officials and jawans, including new recruits, gained insights into the broader landscape of wildlife crimes and the pivotal role that border guarding forces like the SSB play in combating them. The deputy commandant of the Recruit Training Centre, Vishnu Praveen, inaugurated the training program and expressed gratitude to the resource persons for their valuable time and efforts in sensitising the SSB personnel to the critical issue of wildlife crimes, which pose a significant threat to the conservation of precious wildlife resources in the country.

Jawaharlal Baro, assistant director of WCCB, extensively discussed various provisions of India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which was amended in 2022, along with the trafficking of various wildlife species and products in the North East India region. He also led a practical session on identifying frequently seized wildlife products in the area, aimed at benefiting the participating SSB officers.

Representatives from Aaranyak, including Dr Jimmy Borah, senior manager, and Ivy Farheen Hussain, project officer and wildlife crime analyst, delved into diverse dimensions of wildlife crimes from national, regional, and international perspectives. The discussions focused on the Indo-Bhutan landscape and examined methods employed by smugglers to traffic illegal wildlife products, a crime closely intertwined with the smuggling of drugs and weapons. The session included engaging discussions and a Q&A segment.

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Dr Jimmy Borah from Aaranyak shared, “The training program fostered active participation, with SSB participants enthusiastically raising inquiries about various aspects of wildlife crime, all of which were expertly addressed.”

As part of their ongoing commitment to facilitate cooperation among different stakeholders and enforcement agencies to combat wildlife crimes in the region, Aaranyak has been organising such training workshops and interactions on wildlife crimes with various Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), including SSB, BSF, and CISF across the north-eastern region of the country. This year alone, Aaranyak has conducted six such training and sensitisation workshops for SSB personnel in the region, with support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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