Booming illegal wildlife markets

Dear Editor,
The report, WCB sleuths nab two smugglers with black bear and tiger organs (AT, Oct 22, 2017) is extremely disturbing. In spite of the fact that the Central and State Governments have been pushing the agenda for successful wildlife conservation with huge money spent on several projects; poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and wildlife body parts is continuing unrestricted in India. In fact the whole South and SE Asia is vulnerable to illegal wildlife trade due to the booming illegal wildlife markets operating in parts of Southern China and SE Asia. Many of these operators and traffickers have covert support from influential politicians, bureaucrats and local law enforcing agencies. As a consequence, illegal routes of wildlife products have been opened via India, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh into parts of South and SE China and SE Asia.
India being a megabiodiverse nation with amazing biodiversity along with several rare, endemic and endangered wildlife species is certainly under attack from poachers, wildlife traffickers and traders many of them operating across the international borders. The annual turnover of such illegal, international wildlife markets worth billions of dollars in their profit margin. Only the governments and the law enforcement agencies will not be able to prevent such illegal trade unless the common people decide to work and move against these poaching and illegal trading of wildlife and wildlife products. Furthermore, cooperation between adjacent nations sharing international borders through Joint Conservation Initiative (JCI) will be extremely important to tackle such massive illegal poaching and trade operations.
Interstate and inter province cooperation between law enforcement agencies, security forces, forest guards and border security forces are also important to nab such miscreants and deadly smugglers. People’ participation in the conservation of local forests and wildlife is the utmost important factor to protect India’s unique and amazing biodiversity for the future generations. Last but not the least, unless the socio-economic conditions of remote rural residents, fringe forest dwellers and forest residents across the region is not improved; successful conservation of wildlife is a difficult objective to meet.
Saikat Kumar Basu,