Agencies meet in Dehradun to co-ordinate efforts to curb trans-boundary illegal wildlife trade
Dehradun, India, July 2018—Earlier this month, TRAFFIC organised a multi-agency co-ordination meeting for senior officials from the Indo Tibet Border Police (ITBP), Uttarakhand Forest Department, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to enhance co-operate and collaborate to prevent poaching and smuggling of endangered wildlife across borders.
This important meeting was attended by nearly 40 officials mainly from ITBP and staff from Uttarakhand Forest Department posted in the border regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and was hosted by ITBP at its Northern Frontier Head Quarter, Seema Dwar, Dehradun.
Ms Aparna Kumar, IPS, Deputy Inspector General, ITBP, welcomed the participants and shared her experience of dealing with wildlife crime in border regions and how ITBP can play a significant role in curbing trans-boundary wildlife smuggling.
Dr Saket Badola, Head of TRAFFIC’s India Office gave an overview of illegal wildlife trade in India and highlighted the need for enhanced, structured co-ordination among various enforcement agencies to break down wildlife criminal networks.
Dr Dhananjai Mohan, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand, spoke about current wildlife crime issues in Uttarakhand and highlighted illegal wildlife trade at the porous borders of the State with the Tibet Autonomous Region and Nepal. He also gave an overview of how enforcement agencies have been working with local communities to gather intelligence to prevent wildlife crime in these regions.
Mr Vivek Kishore, IPS, Joint Director, WCCB, highlighted cases from Kaziranga National Park and Valmiki Tiger Reserve where joint operations and collaboration among agencies had led to successful seizures and wildlife crime prevention and detection. He lauded this initiative by TRAFFIC in bringing multiple agencies together to improve co-ordination and co-operation efforts.
Dr S K Gupta, Scientist, WII, gave a brief presentation on identification of common wildlife species and derivatives and how WII can support such joint initiatives to curb illegal trade and poaching of wild animals.
Dr Rajiv Bhartari, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Uttarakhand, spoke of the limited resources and training of Forest Department personnel, especially for patrolling high altitude areas of the Himalayas during harsh weather, and how ITBP, with its permanent presence in the area, can help support the Forest Department in fulfilling its anti-poaching and anti-trafficking goals, possibly through regular joint patrolling in trans-boundary areas.
Participants agreed on the need for sensitisation and capacity building training for ITBP officials posted in critical wildlife areas and at transit points for wildlife smuggling; on taking forward initiatives related to joint patrolling by ITBP and Forest Department officials; and the need for regular co-ordination meetings.