Monitoring Illegal Wildlife Trade
August 19, 2014
In Nepal, there are conservation institutions contributing significantly towards biodiversity conservation, protection and maintaining the integrity of protected area system. Today, local community has been accepted as stakeholders in the protection and conservation of protected areas including the bufferzone. The modality of strict protection has been is however there was dearth in the actual protection field of surveillance of monitoring illegal wildlife trade. Today, due to poaching and illegal wildlife trade incidences of arrests and seizures indicate that wildlife crime is burgeoning. In such scenario, there was a need of an institution to support government agencies in providing intelligence on illegal wildlife trade activities. Wildlife Conservation Nepal (WCN), a national NGO came to fill this void. Nepal has the strongest legislation in South Asia for protecting wildlife and stringent law where a person committing wildlife crime can be put behind bars for fifteen years including cash penalty which does not deter people from poaching endangered species.
To monitor illegal wildlife trade, WCN works at different levels.
a) Monitor wildlife trade
b) Share intelligence amongst enforcement agencies to be effective in controlling wildlife trade
c) Capacity building of enforcement agencies
c) Establish database on wildlife trade and crime.
Intelligence provided by WCN has led to many arrests of wildlife traders and poachers in different places in Nepal. WCN is committed to control wildlife crime by educating people and bring a societal change through awareness programs, intelligence sharing, along with training and capacity building of enforcement agencies.
Trader in custody: WCN has been able to put the international wildlife trader Tashi Tshering alias Tsewang into police custody with a red corner notice by Interpol on 3rd April 2002 and on September 2005 by CBI against Tsewang on charges of conspiracy and violation of the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, India. Tashi Tshering, alias Tsewang first shot to notoriety after the Ghaziabad seizure, India, one of the biggest seizures in the year 1999 in which the police recovered a large quantity of leopard, otter and tiger skins enroute to Siliguri. The last seizure was on September 1, 2005 in Nepal with over 279 skins of different wildlife along with 113 kg of tiger bones.
Marmot skin: WCN with the support of Nepal Police was also successful in monitoring the trade of marmot skin in Boudha.
Mongoose Trade: WCN was able to identify a factory that was making paintbrushes out of mongoose hair in Nepal leading to its closure.
Ivory Trade: WCN identified ivory trade, a major concern for the survival of our tuskers in Nepal and India.
Rhino horn trade: It has identified major trade route of rhino horns sent from Chitwan and few were confiscated by WCN team. Today, the middle men have been replaced by women.
Campaign Against Tiger Trade: WCN was the first institution in Nepal who began the CATT campaign to Nepal Ex-Police Association at their office in Dhapasi, Kathmandu where more than 800 members from all over Nepal had come to attend this seminar. With the support of CATT members, WCN name was also in the letter written to the President of China, Olympics Committee to stop trade in tiger and its body part.
Conducted awareness program on environment and wildlife trade to Nepal Police and other line agencies associated with commerce and trade by organizing workshop and seminars.
Conducted environment education programs to over 250 schools, where more than 15,000 students have directly benefited, because it is a hands on experience model and everyone is involved.
Radio awareness program – a weekly radio program on environment, wildlife and policies which reflect people’s view and it also motivates people to join hands in conservation.
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