Enforcement agencies gear up to fight wildlife crime in Central India
Seoni, India, March 2017—Some 65 Forest Department officials and 15 Police officers from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra States in Central India have completed two-days of training aimed at enhancing wildlife law enforcement capacity in Central India.
Central India’s wildlife is under threat from habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and illegal wildlife trade. For example, Seoni Forest Division lies juxtaposed linking Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves, where high Tiger mortality has been reported, while the region is also known for hunting tribes who are reportedly well connected with illegal wildlife trade syndicates.
The training for enforcement officers in the region covered topics ranging from laws governing domestic and international trade; techniques used in intelligence collection and collation; digital intelligence; tackling wildlife crime in cyber space; standard techniques used in search, seizure and interrogation of suspects; forensics tools for collecting and establishing evidence; and the importance of wildlife sniffer dog squads and wildlife crime scene investigation.
Mr Charanjeet Singh Mann, Chief Conservator of Forests, Seoni, spoke about the need for customized training programmes dealing with wildlife crime. He said that such workshops must be conducted on a regular basis.
Mr Merwyn Fernandes, Coordinator for TRAFFIC in India, said that feedback from the participants had been overwhelming, with many highlighting the improvements in interagency co-ordination and keen to learn more about the tools and technology available to curb wildlife crime. Most participants were in favour of longer, five-day training sessions.
TRAFFIC donated 10 wildlife forensic kits each to Seoni Forest Division and Maharashtra Forest Department to enable the Departments to follow the necessary required protocols when collecting wildlife samples for forensic analysis. The meeting in Seoni was organized by TRAFFIC and Madhya Pradesh Forest Department.