Hyderabad, India, 24th February 2011—TRAFFIC India in association with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Andhra Pradesh Forest Department, Andhra Pradesh Forest Academy (APFA) and with the support of the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), organized a workshop earlier this month on strengthening wildlife law enforcement in India.
The meeting took place in the State of Andhra Pradesh which, due to its abundant biodiversity, has always been a significant target for illegal wildlife trade.
Red Sanders, a protected tree species is a near endemic to the State that is in high demand. Large seizures of this wood have recently taken place at the Indo-Nepal border and in Jammu & Kashmir. In October 2010, Mumbai customs arrested a man on suspicion of attempting to smuggle about 10 tonnes of Red Sanders logs to Dubai.
There are also recent reports of tarantula spiders being illegally captured from southern and eastern parts of the State, the rampant poaching of Red Sandboa and the State is a major route in the smuggling of star tortoises.
The two-day workshop organized by TRAFFIC India aimed to make enforcement officers aware of the latest tools and techniques available to fight such illicit wildlife trade and also to provide an overview of organized global wildlife crime.
The workshop was inaugurated by Mrs C. S. Ramalaskshmi, Director General-CEFNARM (Centre for Forests and Natural Resource Management). Fifty participants from various enforcement agencies including the forest department of Andhra Pradesh, police, railway protection force, Customs, State postal and transport departments participated.
Mr Raghuveer, Director APFA emphasized that such multi-agency training helped in the co-ordination of the various departments that play a key role in curbing illegal wildlife trade.
Khalid Pasha of TRAFFIC India spoke about the regional and global reach of organized transnational wildlife crime and the need to update skills and knowledge continuously to meet the challenges this presented.
The workshop was held at the Andhra Pradesh Forest Academy, Dulapally, Hyderabad, and was the third in a series organized by the Indian and UK governments and TRAFFIC for dissemination of knowledge and skills for combating wildlife crime across India.
The programme is supported by Defra, under the UK-India Sustainable Development Dialogue (UK-India SDD) between the Governments of India and the UK.