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Thursday
Jul052018

Community based wildlife protection initiatives key to curbing wildlife crime in Nagaland

Workshop participants in Nagaland © TRAFFIC Nagaland, India, July 2018—Forty-five forest officials from the State Forest Department last month attended a two-day wildlife crime investigation and law enforcement training workshop in Dimapur, Nagaland, organised by Nagaland Forest Department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), supported by TRAFFIC.

Nagaland is an important region, rich in biodiversity and home to wildlife species that sometimes enter illegal trade, both for local consumption as well as international trade.

Nagaland’s borders with Myanmar puts it on a major international trade route for wildlife smuggling, making it a critical region where wildlife enforcement and protection measures need to be strengthened.

The training workshop was inaugurated by Shri C. M. Chang, Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Nagaland.

He spoke of the need for strong community-based initiatives to curb wildlife poaching and smuggling in the State, where local communities are key stakeholders for wildlife resources, and of the need for strong awareness campaigns and enhanced capacity for addressing wildlife crime within the Forest Department.

Shri C. M. Chang also took the opportunity formally to launch the latest issue of TRAFFIC Post, the regular newsletter from TRAFFIC’s office in India. The latest Special Issue focuses on poaching and illegal trade of birds in India, a major conservation concern in the State of Nagaland.

Chair of the meeting, Shri I Panger Jamir, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force, Nagaland, spoke of the need to include wildlife crime investigation and law enforcement within the regular training programmes of the forest service. He also requested WCCB to set up a branch in Nagaland to assist in dealing with wildlife smuggling cases.

Dr Saket Badola, Head of TRAFFIC’s India Office said, “Wildlife forms an integral part of our natural resources and is crucial to the wellbeing of local communities. Nagaland’s geographic position and porous borders makes it a target for wildlife traffickers. To counter this, the Nagaland Forest Department needs to be empowered and work with local communities to achieve a situation whereby wildlife crime can be reduced within the state.”

The training programme covered various aspects of wildlife crime investigation and law enforcement, including an overview of key endangered species in illegal trade, a focus on the primary drivers of wildlife trade, illegal trade routes, hubs and modus operandi of traffickers.

Other topics included wildlife forensics and the importance of DNA sampling in forensic investigation, methods of intelligence gathering, cybercrime, digital intelligence and use of information technology as well as overview of relevant legislation.

Sessions were led by experts from various wildlife specialist organisations and were conducted through discussions and field exercises.

The workshop ended with a vote of thanks from Shri Satya Prakash Tripathi, Chief Wildlife Warden, Nagaland, Dimapur who said, “We are extremely grateful to the Hon’ble Minister Shri C.M. Chang for taking time to address the participants at this training workshop which has provided insights of immense value to the Forest Department of Nagaland at an opportune time. We also thank TRAFFIC, WCCB and the resource personnel conducting the workshop for making the technical sessions lucid and interesting for the participants.”

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