Cops are key in saving rhinos and tigers: Experts (State of Assam, India)

By December 7, 2019Anti-poaching, Conservation
The Deccan Herald | December 6, 2019

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Police personnel will have to play a pivotal role in fighting wildlife crimes and especially protect rhino and tiger species from being hunted, experts on wildlife crimes said on Thursday. They will also have to deter a grave threat to national security, they said during a workshop on wildlife crimes at the Police Training College (PTC) at Dergaon in Golaghat district.

More than 150 personnel of Assam Police attended the workshop that was organised by the Legal and Advocacy Division of Aranyak, a biodiversity conservation and research organization. “Protecting nature has to be a passion for the community. We have to revive our dying age-old practices and rituals that were basically aimed at ensuring protection of wildlife and their habitat,” PTC Principal Jitmol Doley said.

Aaranyak’s Secretary General Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar who has also been the Chair of Asian Rhino Specialist Group of the IUCN and Asia Coordinator of International Rhino Foundation, made a presentation on the overall wildlife conservation scenario in global and local perspectives, and its link to illegal arms trade and insurgency.

“Northeast India has different altitudinal gradients from flood plains to snow-capped mountains, which is considered a big advantage because different types of habitat exists at different altitudes, and due to its rich biodiversity, the region needs special attention in terms of resources documentation and conservation,” he said.

The region is home to nearly 10,000 plant species, 980 bird species, 300 mammals, one of rarest primates on the earth and 175 reptiles of which 40 are endemic, and lots of other species, including amphibians and freshwater species, Talukdar said.

He explained the reasons behind high incidence of rhino hunting in the region and mentioned that the routes of smuggling are identified, and report of the same is submitted to CITES to put pressure on those countries where wildlife trade wildlife is still legal.

Making a deliberation on illegal wildlife trade, International Rhino Foundation (IRF)’s consultant Rahul Datta raised an alarm about its international dimension. Close coordination of the stakeholders and enforcement agencies, and NGOs, International cooperation, capacity building of the frontline forest staff, advance equipment, regular follow up of the cases and increase of conviction rate is required to monitor illegal wildlife trade and route, Datta pointed out.

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