Guwahati: Over 70 men in uniform, including officials from Royal Bhutan Government participated in two back-to-back sensitisation workshops on ‘Preventing Wildlife Crime and Illegal Wildlife Trade’ organised by country’s key border guarding force, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in two BoP on India-Bhutan border.
These workshops were organised with support from Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org) with objective to create synergy with Bhutanese authorities in checking the malady that has become a global menace transcending geographical frontiers.
Over thirty SSB officials and two Additional Superintendents of Royal Bhutan Police – Major Tshering Tobgye and Major Karma Tshewang – participated in the workshop held at the SSB 64th battalion base at Samdrup Jhankar on March 10 where the DIG of the SSB, Jagdeep Pal Singh called upon coordinated efforts from SSB personnel as well as Royal Bhutan authorities to mount vigil against wildlife crime and illegal trade across the international border.
Battalion Commandant N K Tamta appreciated Aaranyak’s cooperation in organising the workshop on transboundary canvass.
He also lauded Aaranyak’s sustained efforts to sensitise the important role that the border guarding personnel can play for preventing wildlife crime and illegal trade in the greater interest of conservation of the precious flora and fauna in the biodiversity-rich Eastern Himalayas.
In the similar workshop held on March 11 at 6th Battalion SSB BOP at Dadgiri, Commandant Lokesh Kumar Singh said “It is important to understand that when we enter the forest, we have entered the home of these wild animals. We have to be respectful to them and make sure they are safe. If we do not save wildlife and environment, our future generations will have nothing to call a home.”
He urged his SSB officials to make sure they pledge to protect the biodiversity to their capacity.
The over 35 SSB officials and two officials from Royal Bhutan authority — Relations officers from BIFA (Bhutan-India Friendship Association) – attended the workshop that was marked by engaging interactions among the participants and Aaranyak resource persons, Senior Manager Dr Jimmy Borah and Project Officer Ms Ivy Farheen Hussain from Legal and Advocacy Division (LAD) of the organisation.
The officials from Royal Bhutan Government attending both the workshops appreciated the presentations of Aaranyak resource persons as very enlightening and an eye-opener to the burgeoning wildlife crime and illegal trade that has volume-wise become the fourth largest illegal global trade after drugs, human trafficking ad arms.
The resource team from Aaranyak while making their elaborate presentations harped on that wildlife crime and illegal trade is not only posing grave threat to global biodiversity but also to national security of the countries as it is in some cases found linked to terrorism, drugs and arms smuggling.
They, therefore, stressed on urgent coordination among nations across the geographical frontiers to prevent it.
Resource person Dr Jimmy Borah flagged the modus operandi of the global network of wildlife (both flora and fauna) criminals and traders and how China and Vietnam stand out to be primary destinations illegal wildlife parts.
He elaborated on surface and air routes used by these criminals dodging the security measures across nations. He said transboundary areas like Indo-Bhutan frontier are hot spots of wildlife crimes richness in biodiversity and a difficult terrain for close monitoring.
Another resource team member Ivy Farheen Hussain made a presentation on the regional perspective of wildlife crime and trade with focus on often poached/traded species like tiger, rhino, elephant, pangolin, tokay gecko, Himalayan black bear, white owl etc.
She detailed the SSB and Royal Bhutan officials on how the hunters operate in the region.
Both the resource persons stressed on the need for proper evidence collections in case of wildlife poaching and trade cases and scientific investigation that requires knowledge on prevalent laws in vogue.