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Illegal Wildlife Trade

 

Not All Animals Migrate By Choice

 

 

 

 
 

 Illegal Wildlife Trade

 

 Tiger

 

Panthera tigris (Tiger)

Conservation status
WLP Act 1972: Schedule I
CITES: Appendix I
IUCN: Endangered
 
Facts
 
Common Name
Tiger
Scientific Name
Panthera tigris
Geographic habitat
Widely distributed across India.
Length
275-290cm (male), 260cm (female)
Weight
135-230 kg
Population
2226
Status
Endangered
Total percentage of Tigers in India
70
 
The tiger is a powerful icon of India’s cultural and natural heritage. The tiger is one of the largest and most skilful predators in the world. Tiger stripes are individually as unique as human fingerprints. Tiger is a solitary and territorial animal and the territory of an adult male may encompass territories of two to seven females. It is carnivorous and hunts for prey primarily by sight and sound. It feeds on deer, wild pig, bovid and sometimes even other predators like leopards and bears.
 
Morphology:
        ·   Yellow brown body with black stripes which are not converse
        ·   White colour on the maxillary cheeks
        ·   Ocular Sun spot above eyes
        ·   White spots on the front inner surface of ear lobe.
        ·   Belly and inside portions of legs are white in colour
 
Natural habitat:
 Dense forest throughout India.
 
Items in trade  
Whole Skin, Claw, Bone, paws, Teeth, Trophy, Whisker
 
Conservation issues
Habitat and loss of prey species
Large-scale habitat destruction and decimation of prey populations are the major long-term threats to the survival of the tiger in the country. Tigers need large territories. And along with habitat, tigers have also suffered from a severe decline of natural prey populations – in particular ungulates such as deer and antelopes.
Hunting, poaching and illegal trade
For over a thousand years, tigers have been hunted as status symbol, decorative trophies such as wall and floor adornments, as souvenirs and curios, and for use in traditional Asian medicines. Hunting for sport probably caused the greatest decline in tiger populations till the 1930s. Poaching is the most significant immediate threat to the remaining tiger population.
Conflict with humans
As tigers continue to lose their habitat and prey, they are increasingly coming into conflict with humans as they attack domestic animals – and sometimes people. In retaliation, tigers are often killed by angry villagers.
 
Distribution
Most of the tigers are in the 50 Tiger Reserves declared by India. About one fourth of the tigers are outside of the Tiger Reserves in other Wildlife Sanctuaries and Reserved / Protected / Unclassed forests.
 

Distribution

 

 Pangolin

   

                    Manis crassicaudata (Indian Pangolin)                                   Manis pentadactyla (Chinese Pangolin)

Conservation status

WLP Act 1972: Schedule I
CITES: Appendix I
IUCN: Endangered
 

Facts:

Common Name
Pangolin
Scientific Name
M. crassicaudata & M. pentadactyla
Geographical Distribution
Indian Pangolin widely distributed across India and Chinese Pangolin is distributed in North East India
Length
60-70 cm & 45 -60 cm respectively
Status
Endangered
 
Pangolin also referred to as scaly anteater is a mammal of the order - Pholidota, family -  Manidae, genus -  Manis, which has eight species. Two of these species i.e. Indian Pangolin (M. crassicaudata) and Chinese Pangolin (M. pentadactyla) occur within Indian territory. Pangolins actually resemble armadillos in appearance, with small heads, long, broad tails and well-developed claws.
 
Morphology:
    Manis crassicaudata (Indian Pangolin):
             ·   Size: Head-Body length = 60-65 cm. & Tail = 45-50 cm.
             ·  Scales are light brownish yellow or sandy grey; centres of scales darker then edges; scales along edge of tail are                   brownish; hair & unscaled skin brownish.
 
   Manis pentadactyla (Chinese Pangolin):
             ·   Size: Head-Body length=45-60 cm. & Tail =25-40 cm.
             ·   Scales are Dark brown to Blackish brown in colour, hair & unscaled skin greyish white to brownish white
 
Pangolin Scales:  Pangolin scales are harvested from the pangolin through a process that involves boiling and parching. The scale surface is corrugated forming a structure that is not smooth. Pangolin scale comes in direct contact with soil and rock. The abrasive behaviour is related to their chemical constitution. The scales are razor sharp, providing extra defence. Pangolin Scales have the functions of anti-adhesion and anti-wear against soil and rock.
 
Natural habitatIndian Pangolin widely distributed across India and Chinese Pangolin is distributed in North East India
 
Threats: Poaching and habitat loss.
 
Items in trade :Live Pangolin, Scales and Meat.
 
Conservation issues
Hunting, poaching and illegal trade - Major threats to pangolins in India are hunting and poaching for local consumptive use and international trade. Another reason for hunting pangolin is its meat.
There is now greater evidence of its inclusion in illicit international trade, in particular its scales, from India through Myanmar to China and south East Asian countries as the most likely, final destinations.
Inadequate information on population and distribution further accentuates the threats arising from hunting and poaching.
 

Distribution

         ·    Indian Pangolin occurs sporadically throughout the plains and lower slopes of hills from south of the Himalaya to                    Kanyakumari, excepting the north-eastern region.

  ·   Chinese Pangolin is found in India in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Tripura,                Mizoram and northern part of West Bengal.

 

 Indian Star Tortoise

 

Geochelone elegans (Indian Star Tortoise)

 
 Conservation status
WLP Act 1972: Schedule IV
CITES: Appendix II
IUCN: Vulnerable
 
Facts
 
Common Name
Indian Star Tortoise
Scientific Name
Geochelone elegans
Geographic habitat
Southern parts of India, Rajasthan, MP
Status
Vulnerable
 
Morphology:
           ·    Carapace dome shaped, and covered with horny epidermal shields marked by radial lines with a light  colored centre            and showing distinct growth rings. Marginal shields of carapace connected to plastron by a broad bridge.
           ·    Nuchal plate without well-developed costiform process.
           ·    Digits short and unwebbed, with not more than two phalanges.
           ·    Hind feet are club shaped. Head shielded above.
 
Natural Habitat:
 Terrestrial, deciduous forest and dry grass lands
 
Items in trade
 There is a high demand for the star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) in the pet trade in domestic and international market. Star tortoises are extremely popular as pets in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Western Countries, North America and Far East. Live tortoises are carried on the person or in baggage, with fruits / vegetables / fish are misdeclared as fish / crabs / souvenirs, etc.
 
Distribution:
 Southern and Western parts of India.
 
 

Distribution

 

 Tokey Gecko

 

Gekko gecko (Tokay Geckos)

 
Conservation status
WLP Act 1972: Schedule IV
CITES: Appendix II
 
Facts
 
Common Name
Tokay Geckos
Scientific Name
Gekko gecko
Geographic habitat
Eastern parts of India.
Status
Least Concern
 
Gecko gecko, commonly known as "Tokay Gecko" is a nocturnal arboreal lizard, widely distributed across Eastern & North Eastern India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh, throughout Southeast Asia, including the Philippines and Indonesia, and to western New Guinea in Melanesia. In the recent past a make belief demand of this lizard for its so-called medicinal value has made it a highly sought for lizard in the eastern parts of India and its adjacent countries. The species, still not listed under CITES started featuring in the illegal wildlife trade in the past few years. It is covered under Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and is prohibited under the Indian Export Policy. Tokay geckos have no scientifically established medicinal value and the illegal trade flourishes completely on rumours and misconceptions.
 
Morphology:
         ·    Adults reach 10” to 15” in size and sport a brown to bluish green coat spotted with chocolate / red and white spots.                 Protruding eyes with frontal strong ridge, tail compressed and keeled
          ·    Convex and short snout.
 
Natural Habitat:
Dense Rain forest of North East India and human inhabitants.
 
Items in trade:  
Live specimens for smuggling into international market. Consumed for medicinal purposes in China and East Asian countries.
 
Distribution:
Eastern part of India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
 
 
Items in trade  
Live specimens for pet trade in domestic and international market. Tokay Gecko are used for medicinal purpose in China.
 
Spread of Tigers in India
Eastern parts of India, Assam, Manipur
 
 

Distribution

 

 WILDLIFE CRIME CONTROL BUREAU

 

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi - disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country. The Bureau has its headquarter in New Delhi and five regional offices at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Jabalpur; three sub-regional offices at Guwahati, Amritsar and Cochin; and five border units at Ramanathapuram, Gorakhpur, Motihari, Nathula and Moreh.
 
What do we do
  •  As mandated under Section 38 (Z) of the WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972, We collect collate and analyse intelligence   related to wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade in the country. ·
  •  We disseminate intelligence to the concerned state enforcement agencies for timely and result oriented action.
  •  We have developed a wildlife crime database management system with connectivity with the state enforcement         agencies for uploading of crime data. This help in record generation as well as wildlife crime analysis to take               preventive / punitive measures.
  •  We help co-ordinate the efforts and actions of various state and central enforcement agencies towards better             enforcement of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  •  We help develop infrastructure and capacity building of the enforcement officials to tackle wildlife crime and illegal     trade and to equip them with latest know how of trends, technology and methods to counter and bust organized         wildlife crime networks.
  •  We take steps to advise the Government of India to implement obligations under various international conventions     and  protocols in force and to assist the efforts of various international law enforcement agencies towards         enforcement           of legal provisions.
  •  We advice Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications and suggest changes in relevant policy related to wildlife crimes.
  • We assist and advise the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
 
What is wildlife crime?
  • Wildlife crime is contravening any domestic or international law concerning wildlife.
  • “Wildlife” includes any animal, aquatic land vegetation which forms part of any habitat.
  • The illegal trade in wildlife goes hand-in -hand with narcotics and arms trade as the offenders are only interested in making big money quickly, thereby making it one of the largest illegal occupations in the world.
  • India, as home to some of the most charismatic animals in the world is now a major source country for this trade.
  • Most of the demand for wildlife products comes from outside the country
 
What is CITES?
  • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments.
  • Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • It regulates international trade in endangered species between member Countries.
  • Came into force in 1973 with presently 181 member countries.
  • Largest international conservation treaty.
  • India is a member of the CITES since 1976.
 
Illegal Wildlife Trade
 
The illegal Wildlife trade recorded in India is mainly of:-
 
Tiger, Leopard & other Big Cats
Skin, meat, bone, claw, fat and other body parts are in illegal trade.
Listed in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and Appendix I of CITES
 
Elephant
Raw Ivory, Ivory handicraft, hair etc are in illegal trade.
Listed in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and Appendix I of CITES
 
Bear
Live Bear for performing tricks and Bear Bile used for oriental medicine, paws, meat, fats and gall bladders are found
illegal trade. Listed in Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and in CITES
 
Rhino Horn
Single Horned Rhino is killed for its horn which is used for medicine and other purposes.
Listed in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and Appendix I of CITES
 
Musk Deer
Musk Deer is killed for its musk which is used for medicine and other purposes
Listed in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and Appendix I of CITES
 
Pangolin
Pangolins are killed for meat and for its scales which are used for medicine
Listed in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and Appendix I of CITES
 
Mongoose
Mangoose are killed for meat and its hair which are used for making paint and other brushes
Listed in Schedule  of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and in CITES
 
Shahtoosh
Shahtoosh is known as king of wool which is derived from Tibetan Antelope and killed for its wool, meat and horns
Listed in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and Appendix I of CITES
 
Live Birds
Live birds trade is very common in local market and smuggled through porous border of India to its neighboring countries. Parakeets, Munia, Owl, Quails, Myna, Jungle fowls, partridge are common in local trade. There is no prohibition in domestic trade of exotic birds. Exports of wild birds is prohibited from India however international trade of some exotic birds like budgerigars, white finches, zebra finches and java sparrow is free. Birds are protected under the Wild Life(Protection) Act 1972 and CITES.
 
Turtle and Tortoise
These are traded for keeping as pets as well as for meat and the calipees are said to be used for medicine.
Listed in Schedules  of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and in CITES
 
Reptiles
Reptiles like rat snakes, cobra, viper, Tokay Gecko and their skins are commonly traded. Snake Venom is also clandestinely traded. Other reptiles like spiny tailed lizard, varanus are also in great demand.
Protected under schedules of Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and CITES.
 
Shells & Corals, Sea Cucumber, Sea Horse etc
Various marine products are being killed and traded mainly for meat.
Protected under schedules of Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and CITES.
 
Plants like Saussurea lappa, Aquilaria sps. & live orchids and its products.
Protected under schedules of Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 and CITES.
 
 
Why should wildlife crime be prevented?
  • Species face extinction because of demands arising out of illegal wildlife trade.
  • Over exploitation of the wildlife resources due to its illegal trade creates imbalance in the ecosystem.
  • Illegal wildlife trade as part of the illegal trade syndicates undermines the economy of the country and thereby creating social insecurity.
  • Wild plants provide genetic variation for crops-natural source for many medicines-threatened by the illegal trade. 
 
Awareness
  • Illegal Trade in Wildlife will continue as long as there is a demand market for it.
  • There is a need to create awareness and to educate not to use wildlife items.
  • Protection of wild fauna & flora depends on the strength of synergy between all enforcement agencies
  • Awareness supported by coordinated action of all enforcement agencies, people's participation and  implementation of National and International wildlife law can help the fight against wildlife crime.
 
JOIN HANDS TO FIGHT WILDLIFE CRIME
 

 Seizures of WCCB

 

 Special Operations conducted by WCCB

 

 Stop Wildlife Traffiking and Report to CWLW, DGP and WCCB

CWLW 

DGP

WCCB HQ

WCCB RDDs