Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Illegal Wildlife Trade Resurfaces in West Bengal

Black pond turtles

It has recently been reported that ever since the arrest of a wildlife trader from Baguiati in the state of West Bengal earlier this year, the threat of illegal wildlife trafficking syndicates in that city along with Dum Dum and Rajarhat have reappeared once again after the traders lied low for sometime. The resurfacing of the syndicates was indicated by the seizure of around thousand black pond turtles two days ago at the Keshtopur Ghoshpara area. The turtles were brought from Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, and were being transported to Bangladesh and China. According to Santosh Nirmalkar of NSCBI police station, the traffickers had hired a warehouse in the area where they had stored the turtles. So far, four had been arrested and after being interrogated they disclosed some more names. A similar wildlife trafficking racket had been busted in the area earlier this year. In addition to black pond turtles, there has also been an increase in demand of olive ridley sea turtles. Inspector Koushik Mondal of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau stated that turtles are primarily poached in India and sent to Bangladesh. He further added that there are two rackets specializing in the illegal turtle trade: one in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and another in Andhra Pradesh. In addition to native animals, exotic animals were also found to be smuggled in the region. This was seen in the case of three rescued chimpanzees and the successive arrest a trader by customs officers in January that led to a dire reduction in such illicit activities. However, after the accused received a bail, the activities began to resurface. The police and customs officials have confirmed that several animal trading shops have sprouted in the area, and some of them appear as part of a large illicit chain functioning in the region consisting of the India-Bangladesh border. Exotic animals are known to be brought into this region primarily via Bangladesh and Nepal. The smugglers, who use the region as a shipment point, transport the animals to countries like China and Thailand. The chimps, for example, were brought from South Africa and smuggled into India through river routes from Bangladesh.
An olive ridley sea turtle

This article indicates that it is highly crucial to keep a lookout for syndicates specializing in the illicit trade of wildlife, and search for them even while they are keeping a low profile. Just because a specific area where the illegal wildlife trade was once rampant and experiences a drastic reduction in such activities, does not mean the threat is gone forever. It is important maintain a close lookout for any suspicious activities related to smuggling of animals both exotic and native, and encourage the public to lend its support in reporting such activities. Furthermore, once it has been confirmed from which places the animals are brought, it is important to maintain contact with authorities in those places and make sure that they are on high alert for any perpetrators attempting to smuggle animals to other parts of a country. For example, this article has identified the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, and Uttar Pradesh as primary hubs of illegal wildlife trade rackets that bring turtles into West Bengal; which is why it is crucial that authorities in those states should ensure that the animals do not end up being smuggled to West Bengal or anywhere in or out of India. Similarly, authorities in Bangladesh, Nepal, and South Africa should follow this procedure of helping curb any illegal wildlife trade activities. Both the black pond and olive ridley turtles are classified by the IUCN as "vulnerable", and are under constant threat of being overexploited as either food, medicine, pets, or souvenirs. Because of this ongoing threat, experts are calling for conserving these reptiles. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to take serious measurements in curbing illegal activities concerning the plight of these turtles and other endangered wildlife.

View article here

No comments:

Post a Comment