SSB seminar highlights the role of interagency co-operation in curbing wildlife crime
New Delhi, India, 28th September 2017—Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), one of India’s Central Armed Police Forces, last week organized a seminar on the Role of Security Forces in Combating Wildlife Crime to highlight the need for interagency co-operation.
Held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, on 22nd September and attended by over 300 law enforcement officials from multiple agencies, chief guest Dr Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Science, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India praised the efforts made by SSB to meets the challenges of guarding the porous Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders. He also congratulated the SSB on the co-operation initiative and urged the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) to organise regular co-ordination with other enforcement agencies.
Smt Archana Ramasundaram, Director General of SSB noted that in 2016, SSB arrested 62 suspects in a total of 60 wildlife-related cases. By contrast in the first 8 months of 2017 there had been 85 cases and 95 suspects arrested. She also noted the large quantities of wildlife products confiscated including parts from deer, turtles, and elephant tusks.
Mr Ravi Singh, CEO and Secretary General, WWF-India used the opportunity to showcase the joint TRAFFIC-WWF-India wildlife sniffer dog training programme and its impact on detecting wildlife related crimes and of the need for strengthening wildlife forensic capacity in India.
Among the outcomes from the seminar were commitments for improved collaboration between enforcement agencies, specifically through the SSB and WCCB setting up X-ray facilities and documentation to help detect wildlife contraband; the gathering and sharing of intelligence to prevent, detect and combat crime; the creation of a database of criminals to be shared among agencies; and the conducting of specialized training for personnel in border regions.
“TRAFFIC congratulates SSB for organizing this seminar on the role of security forces in curbing wildlife crime, clearly signaling the commitment of the organization in dealing with this menace. TRAFFIC would be pleased to offer our knowledge and support for future collaboration on this issue.”
Dr Saket Badola, Head of TRAFFIC’s India OfficeHe also encouraged the use of wildlife sniffer dogs by border agencies to detect wildlife contraband, noting their used would help strengthen SSB’s counter wildlife crime strategy. To date, 43 dog squads have been provided to the Forest Department by TRAFFIC and are proving highly successful in locating hidden contraband, leading to the arrest of a number of suspects.