Shillong (Meghalaya): Illegal trade in wildlife is a serious threat in India with global implications , said the Director General of Forests, Siddhanta Das.
Informing this during the 2nd Indo-Bangladesh Dialouge on Trans-Boundary Elephant Conservation which began here on Thursday, Das said, “After the trafficking of drugs and arms, wildlife trade is the next major trade with a global network.”
Das said that the government has prioritized the protection of wildlife from all threats including this illegal trade.
Illegal trade in wildlife in the country involves the sale of animal and insect species which are on the endangered list besides the sale of a large number of items such as mongoose hair, snake skin, rhino horns, tiger and leopard claws, bones, pelts and whiskers, elephant tusks, deer antlers, shahtoosh shawls, turtle shells, musk pods, bear bile, medicinal plants, timber and an assortment of birds species such as parakeets and mynas.
Though there is not much demand for these items within the country, their sale in the international market fetches those smuggling these items a very handsome price.
In spite of a number laws restricting the sale of these items being in force in the country, the trade in over 1800 species of wild animals, plants and their extracts continues to flourish in India.
In this backdrop and while keeping in mind the large elephant population in the north east region of India, Das said that there is a need to ensure the maintenance of identified elephant corridors in the region.
Pointing out that elephants will move from place to place and that there is nothing much that man can do to change this, Das said that the maintenance of these elephant corridors will go a long way in ensuring that human – elephant conflicts are kept to a minimal, if not avoided completely.
Das also informed that the issue of compensation in such cases is dealt with by the respective state governments while adding, “The Centre provides support only if there is request from the State Government. The assistance provided by the Centre varies from one State to another.”
Taking part in the dialogue, the Chief Conservator of Forests, Government of Bangladesh, Md. Shafiul Alam Chowdhury informed that his country has come up with a number of policies to ensure the protection of elephants.
Chowdhury however pointed out that the government alone cannot be expected to go about the protection of elephants alone and as such has urged for concerted efforts to protect these animals. “If we cannot protect the elephants from extinction, this will unquestionably be an indicator for the collapse of many other species and wilderness in the future,” he said