Wildlife Trafficking: A Threat to Wildlife Heritage

Between 2018 and 2020, about 2,054 cases were registered for killing or illegal trafficking of wild animals in India, Central Government statistics say.

In the three years, about 3,836 accused were arrested for the crime.

The number of cases registered in the year 2018 was 648 and 1,099 persons were arrested; followed by 805 cases and 1,506 arrests in 2019; and 601 cases and 1,231 arrests in 2020.

The data was made available on the basis of cases registered by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and State Forest and Police Authorities in the past three years.

The details were made public by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

The reply on November 29 also pointed out that Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has been created for control of wildlife crime at the Central Government level.

Operations by WCCB

The WCCB had launched operation “Save Kurma” from to December 2016 to January 2017 to focus on the poaching, transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises.

Another operation “Operation Turtshield- I” from December 2019 to January 2020 and Operation Turtshield-II” (December 2020 to February 2021) was taken up to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles, resulting in the seizure of 4,601 live/dead turtles and arrest of 45 accused in the first operation.

“Operation Softgold” was undertaken from October, 2018 to March, 2019 to tackle illegal trade in Shahtoosh shawls (made from Chiru wool). During the operation, 350 shawls were found.