Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tiger and leopard skins seized, network busted

The pelts of one tiger, four leopards and about 3 kg big cat bones were seized from five persons who were arrested in Najibabad in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. The wildlife contraband is said to have been sourced from Uttarakhand.

According to regional deputy director (northern region) of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau Ramesh K Pandey, a joint operation involving the WCCB, UP STF and Najibabad police arrested five persons based on intelligence provided by the bureau.

The five were arrested with one tiger and four leopard pelts, bones and two iron traps used specifically for trapping big cats. The kingpin of the gang, Dharmveer Kanjar, was also among those arrested. The rest have been identified as Sunil Nath and Omar of Najibabad, Navi Singh of Dharchula and the car driver, Punit Chauhan.

It is believed that Dharmveer received wildlife contraband from the plains and hilly regions of Uttarakhand. According to Pandey, Najibabad is a convenient town with links to both the hills and the plains due to which Dharmveer was able to source banned wildlife commodities from all parts of the State.

The arrested persons confessed that while three leopard pelts have been sourced from Kugadda in Kalagarh forest range in Uttarakhand, the tiger skin and one leopard pelt were obtained from Rajaji National Park.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Worst year in decades for endangered elephants

JOHANNESBURG: Large seizures of elephant tusks make this year the worst on record since ivory sales were banned in 1989, with recent estimates suggesting as many as 3,000 elephants were killed by poachers, experts said on Thursday.

”2011 has truly been a horrible year for elephants,” said Tom Milliken, elephant and rhino expert for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

In one case earlier this month, Malaysian authorities seized hundreds of African elephant tusks worth $1.3 million that were being shipped to Cambodia.

The ivory was hidden in containers of Kenyan handicrafts.

”In 23 years of compiling ivory seizure data this is the worst year ever for large ivory seizures,” said Milliken.

Most cases involve ivory being smuggled from Africa into Asia, where growing wealth has fed the desire for ivory ornaments and for rhino horn that is used in traditional medicine, though scientists have proved it has no medicinal value.

TRAFFIC said Asian crime syndicates are increasingly involved in poaching and the illegal ivory trade across Africa, a trend that coincides with growing Asian investment on the continent.

”The escalation in ivory trade and elephant and rhino killing is being driven by the Asian syndicates that are now firmly enmeshed within African societies,” Milliken said in a telephone interview from his base in Zimbabwe. ”There are more Asians than ever before in the history of the continent, and this is one of the repercussions.”

Some of the seized tusks came from old stockpiles, the elephants having been killed years ago.

But the International Fund for Animal Welfare said recent estimates suggest more than 3,000 elephants have been killed for their ivory in the past year alone.

”Reports from Central Africa are particularly alarming and suggest that if current levels of poaching are sustained, some countries, such as Chad, could potentially lose their elephant populations in the very near future,” said Jason Bell, director of the elephant program for the fund based in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.

He said poaching also had reached ”alarming levels” in Congo, northern Kenya, southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique.

Milliken thinks criminals may have the upper hand in the war to save rare and endangered animals.

”As most large-scale ivory seizures fail to result in any arrests, I fear the criminals are winning,” Milliken said.

All statistics are not yet in, and no one can say how much ivory is getting through undetected, But TRAFFIC said it is clear there’s been a ”dramatic increase” this year in the number of large-scale seizures those over 800 kilograms in weight.

There were at least 13 large seizures this year, compared to six in 2010 with a total weight just under 1,000 kilograms.

In Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve alone, some 50 elephants a month are being killed and their tusks hacked off, according to the Washington-based Environmental Investigation Agency.

With shipments so large, criminals have taken to shipping them by sea instead of by air, falsifying documents with the help of corrupt officials, monitors said.

In another sign of corruption, Milliken said some of the seized ivory has been identified as coming from government-owned stockpiles made up of both confiscated tusks and those from dead elephants.

Rhinos also have suffered: A record 443 rhino were killed this year in South Africa, according to National Geographic News Watch.

That surpassed last year’s figure of 333 dead rhino despite the government deploying soldiers to protect the endangered animals this year in its flagship Kruger National Park.

National Geographic reported this week that 244 of the rhino killed this year were poached in Kruger, and that figure is expected to rise before the end of the month.

South Africa is home to 90 percent of the rhinos left on the continent, and Kruger has more than 10,000 white rhinos and about 500 black rhinos.

Africa’s elephant population was estimated at between 5 million and 10 million before white hunters came to the continent with European colonization. Massive poaching for the ivory trade in the 1980s halved the remaining number of African elephants to about 600,000.

Following the 1989 ban on ivory trade and concerted international efforts to protect the animals, elephant herds in east and southern Africa were thriving before the new threat arrived from Asia.

A report from Kenya’s Amboseli National Park highlighted the dangers. There had been almost no poaching for 30 years in the park, which lies in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro until a Chinese company was awarded the contract to build a highway nearby two years ago. Amboseli has lost at least four of its ”big tuskers” since then

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mutilated body of male rhino recovered

PTI | 03:11 PM,Nov 30,2011
Lakimpur (UP), Nov 30 (PTI) Mutilated body of a male rhino, suspected to have been killed by poachers for its horn, was recovered in Sonaripur range by the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) authorities. "The body was recovered yesterday from Kakarha Tal area. The condition of the carcass indicates that the animal died about one and a half months back," Ganesh Bhat, Deputy Director of the DTR, said today. Following recovery of a horn from neighbouring Nepal, investigations were initiated into the matter. "Two persons have been held for interrogation, while samples from the body have been collected to be sent to WII, Dehradun, to match the DNA with that of the recovered horn in Nepal," he said. The forest authorities in Kailali, Nepal had arrested three poachers along with a rhino horn. During interrogation, the poachers told the Nepal forest officials that they had purchased the rhino horn from an Indian of Basantapur village in Kheri. The rhino rehabilitation programme in Dudhwa is the world's most successful project, where they were relocated on the terai land of Kheri district after 150 years. The programme was started in 1987 with just five rhinos brought in from Assam and Nepal. The accommodating atmosphere, rich flora and fauna of Dudhwa helped these uni-horned animals to flourish and within a few decades the number of rhinos has swelled to 31. PTI CORR AVA PG SG

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

‘Future of the tiger is dependent on India’

BANGALORE: Dr George Schaller, emeritus scientist of New York Wildlife Conservation Society, also a leading wildlife biologist, was here in connection with a programme organised by director of WCS India Program and Centre for Wildlife Studies K Ullas Karanth, when The New Indian Express caught up with him for an exclusive interview. Excerpts:
“Tigers are extinct in Cambodia, Vietnam, Russia, China and Myanmar. The only ray of hope is India which still has around 1,600 tigers. It is time the Indian government protects them. If tigers are still in India, credit must go to former prime minister late Indira Gandhi,” said Dr George Schaller. He added that there are hardly 3,600 tigers left in the entire world.
“Tigers will exist provided there is political will and strict implementation of wildlife rules. It is heartening to note that the tiger population in India is improving, thanks to conservation. From the 1990s till date there has been an increase in the population of big cats. India has been a success story thanks to the efforts of people like Ullas Karanth,” he elucidates. Pointing out that more tigers exist in private captivity around the globe, he said: “In US, there are more than 3,500 tigers outside zoos and forests and in Russia over 7,000 tigers in people’s backyard.”
“Tiger skin and bones are sought in China for medicinal purposes. Many organised gangs kill tigers and sell the products for a huge sum. It is possible to check this illegal trade provided local communities are taken into confidence. A percentage of profit earned through tourism should be given to them for their inclusion in wildlife conservation. Unfortunately, borders to China are open; poachers take this route for all illegal trade.”
He said that villagers kill tigers and sell it to middlemen for a paltry sum who in turn take it to China where they get high prices, while calling for strong policing and cooperation of villagers.
“In a bid to improve tiger habitat, the Chinese government has initiated several measures. More areas in forests are declared as core areas for breeding in peace. It is critical to improve tiger breeding in wild. But in last 10 years, 18 out of the 800-odd poachers arrested were convicted,” Dr Schaller said.
“I hope the right steps will be taken to save the tiger; its future depends on India.”
Photo-With George Schaller

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

13 nations come together to save tigers

NEW DELHI: Project Predators, an initiative to save tigers, was unveiled on Wednesday at the general assembly of Interpol in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the CBI is representing the country. The project is aimed at combing the efforts of police, Customs and wildlife officials in 13 countries, including India where tigers can still be found in the wild.

It will provide capacity building to law enforcement agencies to combat tiger crimes, strengthen their ability to work with wildlife officials using advanced, intelligence-led methods of investigation. The project will also encourage countries to establish and resource National Tiger Crime Task Forces, a statement from Interpol said.

"Besides Tiger saving initiative, the assembly will discuss a wide range of issues, including assessment of the implementation of resolutions on combating crime and exchanging experiences in preventing transnational crime," CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said.

"During the general assembly, the director of CBI has held important discussions on matters of mutual interest with secretary general of Interpol, Ronald K Noble, Vietnam's vice minister of public security and heads of delegations from the member countries, including the USA, the UK, France, Singapore, Vietnam, Bhutan, Hong Kong and Denmark," she said. She added, "The general assembly will also ratify important resolutions on police cooperation and elect the organization's executive committee."


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Man returning from US held with 25 Shahtoosh shawls

Posted: Thu Sep 15 2011, 01:37 hrs
New Delhi: Discount Shopping Discussion

In one of the biggest wildlife seizures in over 10 years, the Customs department seized 25 Shahtoosh shawls and other goods worth Rs 1.69 crore from a passenger who arrived from Washington, DC at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday.

Mudasir Gulam Ahmed Mugloo, a resident of Srinagar, who arrived from Washington, DC by flight VS-300 on Tuesday morning, had also not declared USD 21,291/- and GBP 1,025/-, equivalent to Rs 10,29,845, in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF). Mugloo told investigating officials that he had taken these goods to the US for selling. He was returning back to India with the remaining items, he said.

“All goods have been seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 on the reasonable belief that the same were smuggled into India and were, therefore, liable to confiscation under the Custom Act, 1962 read with the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and CITES (The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), to which India is a signatory,” Additional Commissioner (IGIA Customs) Ashutosh Baranwal told Newsline.
Mugloo has been arrested and investigations are on in the case.

On landing at the Delhi Airport, Mugloo was diverted from the Green Channel for a detailed examination on suspicion by the Customs officials.

Earlier, on questioning by Customs, he stated that all garments were Pashmina and no Shahtoosh shawl was present in the baggage. “Detailed examination of his baggage resulted in recovery of 25 Shahtoosh shawls, a prohibited animal article for commerce derived from Scheduled animal. The same was identified and certified by the Inspector of Wildlife from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), New Delhi,” the Customs official said.

Also found with the passenger were 89 Pashmina shawls, 55 stoles in commercial quantity, three watches of different brands, one laptop (Apple Mac Pro), an Apple I-pad (64 GB).

As per Wildlilfe Crime Bureau officials, Shahtoosh is obtained from the under fleece of ‘Chiru’ (Tibetan Antelope), for which it is killed and skinned. International market value of a Shahtoosh shawl ranges between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakhs per piece and can fetch more depending on the handwork and dyeing.

“At least four Chiru Antelopes are killed to make one such shawl,” the official said.

Customs officials said the international market price of the 25 seized Shahtoosh shawls comes to Rs 1.53 crore (24 shawls at Rs 6 lakh each and 1 shawl at Rs 9 lakh). As revealed by the passenger to the officials, the 89 Pashmina shawls are valued at Rs 13. 8 lakh, the 55 stoles are valued at Rs 79,720/- and other goods valued at Rs. 96,056/-. All the goods were seized as they were used to conceal the consignment of Shahtoosh shawls.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ivory seized in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 5th September 2011—The Royal Malaysian Customs has seized two containers filled with 695 elephant tusks in the country’s largest port, bringing to three the number of large-scale seizures of ivory in the past three months.

The shipment, labeled as “recycled craft plastic” originated in Tanzania and was destined for China, said Customs assistant director-general Datuk Zainul Abidin Taib.

The tusks, weighing close to 2,000 kg were packed in gunny sacks and hidden under the plastic material, the same way it had been in the shipment seized a fortnight ago in Penang, Zainol said.

The seizure in Penang on 21st August, consisted of 664 African elephant tusks hidden in a container from the United Arab Emirates. The 1.5 tonne seizure, declared as “used plastics”, was made at the Butterworth Port, in the northwest of Peninsular Malaysia.

In an earlier seizure on 8th July, the Wildlife and National Parks Department and Customs Department seized a container of 405 African elephant tusks declared as plywood at the Pasir Gudang Port, in the southernmost state of Johor.

Speaking on the latest seizure, Zainul said it would not have been possible without information from the public.

“We hope the public will continue to co-operate with Customs and provide us with timely information,” he told TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

No arrests have been made so far but Zainul said investigations into the three recent cases would continue.

Malaysia has come under a harsh spotlight in recent months for its role as a transshipment point in high-profile ivory seizures in Hong Kong and from Kenya and Tanzania.

“This latest in a series of major ivory seizures in Malaysia is both heartening and disappointing,” said TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Regional Director Dr William Schaedla.

“It’s heartening because it shows that the country’s authorities can and will take action on the problem. It’s disappointing because it clearly validates what TRAFFIC has been saying for some time now – Malaysia is a major transshipping country for illegal ivory.”

Schaedla congratulated the Customs Department on the successful seizures and urged continued vigilance both in Malaysia and in the region.

“Illegal wildlife trade is fluid. Now that the ivory traffickers have been caught out using some of Malaysia’s ports they are likely to move through others in an effort to keep their black market business alive.”

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cross border smuggling on rise in Indo-China border

Trafficking of rare stuff - in high demand at the international market - is on the rise on India’s border with China in Himachal Pradesh. For second time in past 13 months police has detected cross border smuggling on “porous” border with China in remote Kinnaur district raising questions about security arrangements.

Police on Monday seized two trucks laden with costly pashmina wool that was smuggled from Chinese villages to Indian border. The estimated cost of the seized wool is pegged at around Rs 1.5 crore in the international market. The police seized these trucks near Kharo in Pooh subdivision that is 100 kilometers from Nako a village close to China border in the district.

Reliable sources have told Hindustan Times that consignment of pashmina wool had been brought from the border villages in China. The pashmina wool that weighs about five tonne had been brought on the pony backs from Churup village in China administered Tibetan Autonomous Region. The wool is harvested from Himalayan mountain goat. The goat is found in Kashmir, Tibet and Nepal primarily. As pashmina wool set the fashion world on fire in the 1990s, it has high price in the international market.

Sources said that cops have also found some quantity of shatoosh wool sheared from rare Tibetan antelope Chiru. Wildlife reports have put that 20,000 of the wild animals that live on China's Tibetan Plateau are killed each year or are either shot in herds by automatic weapons or caught in leg-hold traps-for their prized coats. The shahtoosh trade was banned globally in 1975 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) following a fall in the number of the antelopes. The Indian government followed and banned the trade in 1991.

The local drivers of the impounded trucks have told police that the wool was being taken to police. Local cops are also questioning one Kamla Nand a local said to be having close connections with Chinese traders. Reliable information said that Nand was arrested few days back while smuggling rare scotch Whiskies to China villages. Nand is said to informer for the military sources.

If sources are to be believed police had seized two trucks laden with pashmina wool and about eight other have already made their way into the Delhi markets. “Right now we cannot say anything except that tow trucks laden with Pashmina wool had been seized,” said Superintendent of Police in Kinnaur Ashok Kumar.

In August 2010 police has seized 12 tonnes of red sanders wood that was enruote to China. Red sanders wood grows in the forest of Andhra Pradesh is in high demand in China. The red sanders wood contains thorium is used as coolant in the old fashioned nuclear reactors; it is also used in medicines and making musical instruments in China.

Investigations revealed that the truck drivers had been issued permits by Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officers. ITBP is responsible for managing the security along Indian border in two tribal districts Lahual and Spiti and Kinnaur. The police sleuths had detected involvement of ITBP officials in the incident. A commandant and cops had been suspended for their involvement.

The latest case of cross border smuggling had once again raised question about the security along the Indo-China border.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nearly 800 pieces of ivory seized in Hong Kong

Customs officers in Hong Kong have reported the seizure of 794 pieces of ivory tusks weighing 1.9 tonnes, concealed inside a shipping container that arrived from Malaysia Monday.

The consignment was declared as products for factory use, but upon examination by officers of the Ports and Maritime Command was found to contain African elephant ivory, concealed by stones.

A 66-year-old man was arrested and follow-up investigations are in progress.

“The authorities in Hong Kong are to be congratulated on this important seizure, but it is now vital to ensure that all leads are followed to track down those responsible along the entire smuggling chain,” said Tom Milliken, Elephant & Rhino Programme Coordinator at wildlife trade network TRAFFIC.

“This looks like another huge consignment of ivory aimed at the Chinese market, only days after the CITES Standing Committee recommended a review of China’s internal ivory trade protocol to determine whether there are possibilities for illicitly sourced ivory to leak into the legal ivory trade system.”

Globally, illicit trade in ivory has been escalating since 2004 and Chinese consumption is considered to be the leading driver behind Africa’s elephant poaching crisis.

This is not the first time Hong Kong has made a large seizure of ivory arriving from Malaysia. In December 2009, 186 pieces of ivory were found inside a container shipped from Malaysia labeled as containing “White Wood”. That shipment originated in Nigeria, but the origins of yesterday’s consignment have not been disclosed.

In 2003, Hong Kong authorities also seized 275 tusks, weighing nearly 2 tonnes, transiting from Malaysia after being illegally exported from Tanzania.

And again, last week, more than 1000 ivory tusks were seized in Zanzibar, Tanzania, apparently en route to Malaysia.

Milliken manages the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), the illegal ivory trade monitoring system that TRAFFIC runs on behalf of Parties to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

ETIS holds the details of nearly 17,000 reported ivory and other elephant product seizures that have taken place anywhere in the world since 1989.

A total of 164 ivory seizures have occurred in Hong Kong during this 23-year period, collectively representing over 17 tonnes of elephant ivory.

According to the most recent full analysis of ETIS, published in 2009, “Malaysia has progressively gained prominence in successive ETIS analyses as a transit country for African ivory.”

Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia issued a statement saying it was highly concerned over last week’s seizure in Zanzibar and had contacted Tanzanian authorities with regard to the case.

“This latest Hong Kong seizure further underscores Malaysia’s role as an intermediary country in the illicit flow of African ivory to Asia,” said Milliken. “It’s time for Malaysia to get tough on international ivory smugglers, who are tarnishing the country’s reputation.”

TRAFFIC is a joint programme of WWF and IUCN.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wildlife trade ring busted

New Delhi, Aug. 5: Chhattisgarh police has arrested a man alleged to be the “kingpin” of an extensive network of illegal trade in animal and plant wildlife that extended to other Asian countries, wildlife officials said today after an 18-month cloak-and-dagger operation.

Veeriya Shekhar, a resident of Moreh in Manipur, was detained by immigration authorities at Chennai airport on July 13 while he was trying to flee to Bangkok after India’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau issued a lookout circular for him, WCCB officers said.

“This is a big catch — and it has come after months of hardcore intelligence on his clandestine activities,” said a senior WCCB officer. “We believe he has been the kingpin of a vast network of trade in tiger and leopard bones, deer antlers, pangolin scales and red sandalwood.”

Pangolin scales are the outer skin layers of an anteater and are in great demand in traditional Chinese medicine, the official said. Red sandalwood, also called red sanders, is an expensive type of wood valued for its quality of timber.

Although India has been exporting red sanders since the 17th century, a burgeoning international demand for the red sanders’ wavy grain quality timber has led to illegal and destructive exploitation of the wild resources.

Earlier this year, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officers from Siliguri had seized 17,290kg of red sanders valued at Rs 1.73 crore in Darjeeling district. The logs concealed under sacks of marble chips were meant for illegal export to Nepal, DRI officers had said.

In a statement issued today, the WCCB has said it considers the arrest of Shekhar as a “crucial breakthrough” in cracking a smuggling ring of red sanders in India and other neighbouring countries, including China, Myanmar and Nepal.

A WCCB officer said information about Shekhar’s role in the smuggling network emerged during the interrogation of persons who had been arrested during a series of seizures over the past 18 months.

After months of investigations, the officer said, the WCCB issued a lookout circular that enabled the immigration officers in Chennai to detain Shekhar. He was subsequently arrested by Chhattisgarh police and moved to Raipur where police have filed a case against him.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Red sanders king pin arrested

रायपुर चेन्नई एयरपोर्ट पर पकड़े गए अंतरराष्ट्रीय चंदन तस्कर शेखर विरैय्या के मणिपुर के आतंकवादी संगठन केवायकेएल (कांगलेई यमोल कन्ना लूप) से कारोबारी संबंध हैं। मणिपुर-बर्मा और तिब्बत के रास्ते विरैय्या सालों से लाल चंदन की लकड़ियां चीन भेज रहा था।

पुलिस को संदेह है कि अपने इसी ट्रांसपोर्ट चैनल का इस्तेमाल वह नक्सलियों और माफिया गिरोहों को बर्मा-मणिपुर या तिब्बत के रास्ते हथियार और कारतूसों की सप्लाई में भी कर रहा था। इस एंगल से शेखर से पूछताछ भी शुरू हो गई है।

रायपुर में मारा गया ट्रांसपोर्टर राजेश डागर और उसका भाई सत्येंद्र शेखर विरैय्या के लिए काम करते थे। राजेश चंदन की लकड़ियां अपनी ट्रकों में भरकर दिल्ली के रास्ते हिमाचलप्रदेश से मणिपुर तस्करी करता था। मणिपुर के सीमाई गांव मोरे बॉर्डर से लकड़ियों को सीमा पार बर्मा-चीन भेजने में उसे केवायकेएल की मदद मिलती थी। दिल्ली पुलिस के मुताबिक यह आतंकी संगठन हथियारों की सप्लाई में भी लिप्त रहा है। पिछले कुछ समय से मणिपुर में सेना ने अपना दबाव बढ़ाया है। इलाके में कूकी जनजाति के बढ़ते दबदबे ने शेखर के लिए कारोबार करना मुश्किल कर दिया था। इन हालात को देखते हुए गिरोह ने हिमाचलप्रदेश होते हुए तिब्बत के रास्ते चीन तक माल पहुंचाना शुरू कर दिया।

कल देर रात तक पुलिस शेखर से अलग-अलग एंगल से पूछताछ करती रही। विरैय्या की गिरफ्तारी को पुलिस बड़ी सफलता मान रही है। दिल्ली से ही आई वाइल्ड लाइफ क्राइम कंट्रोल ब्यूरो (डब्ल्यूएलसीसीबी) की टीम ने भी शुक्रवार को शेखर से घंटों पूछताछ की। उनके सवालों में भी आतंकी संगठन और नक्सलियों को हथियार सप्लाई से जुड़े मुद्दे शामिल थे।

विरैय्या ने क्यों करवाई राजेश की हत्या? :

राजेश डागर बेवजह रायपुर नहीं आया था। लाल चंदन की लकड़ियों का उसका ज्यादातर कारोबार कर्नाटक से था। पुलिस को शक है कि राजेश ने नक्सलियों से लिंक बना लिया था और अपने ट्रांसपोर्ट नेटवर्क के जरिये ही वह हथियारों की अवैध सप्लाई के धंधे में कूद पड़ा। इंटेलिजेंस ब्यूरो (आईबी) ने भी इस तरह की गतिविधियों के संकेत दिए थे। वह पहले विरैय्या के लिए काम करता था। राजेश और सत्येंद्र के आतंकी गुटों से सीधे संबंध थे। दिल्ली पुलिस के मुताबिक सत्येंद्र इसी आतंकी संगठन के लीडर थुआंग की हत्या का भी मुख्य आरोपी है। पुलिस की जांच कहती है कि राजेश का ट्रांसपोर्टिग को लेकर विरैय्या से विवाद हुआ। तभी विरैय्या ने सत्येंद्र से कहकर उसे मरवा डाला। हालांकि हत्या में अपना हाथ होने की बाद अब तक शेखर नहीं कबूल नहीं की है। लेकिन उसके खिलाफ पुलिस के पास साक्ष्य हैं।

सूत्रों के मुताबिक ऐसा माना जा रहा है कि राजेश नक्सलियों के लिए काम करने लगा था। इसी मामले में विरैय्या भी जुड़ा और चंदन व हथियारों की सप्लाई तस्करी को लेकर विवाद ही राजेश के मौत की वजह बनी होगी।

वीरप्पन के बाद दूसरा तस्कर

कर्नाटक और आंध्रप्रदेश के जंगल में आपरेट करने वाले तस्कर वीरप्पन के एनकाउंटर में मारे जाने के बाद उस इलाके में विरैय्या ने कब्जा कर लिया था। विरैय्या तमिलनाडु और कर्नाटक के जंगलों में तस्करी करता था। वीरप्पन कर्नाटक व आंध्रा के जंगलों में रहकर लकड़ियां वहीं बेचता था, लेकिन विरैय्या का नेटवर्क विदेशों तक फैला हुआ है। दिल्ली की डब्लूएलसीसीबी टीम के पूछताछ में यह स्पष्ट हुआ है कि विरैय्या साउथ से हिमाचल-अरुणाचल प्रदेश के रास्ते बर्मा से चंदन चीन को सप्लाई करता था। इस काम में आतंकी संगठन केवॉयकेएल की भी प्रमुख भूमिका होती थी।

राजेश रायपुर में रहकर भारत के दक्षिण से चीन को चंदन की तस्करी करता था। विरैय्या से उसके विवाद की वजह भी स्पष्ट नहीं हुई है। पुलिस को शक है कि वह आतंकी संगठनों के माध्यम से नक्सलियों को होने वाली हथियार और गोलियों की सप्लाई की अहम कड़ी था। इसकी पड़ताल की जा रही है। दिल्ली की टीम भी कई बिंदुओं पर विरैय्या से पूछताछ कर रही है।

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SAWEN organised training workshop on wildlife crime for South Asian enforcement agencies

Gandhinagar, India, 11th July 2011—Representatives from seven South Asia countries today begin five-days of training on “Strengthening Wildlife Law Enforcement for Wildlife Protection in South Asia” under the aegis of the newly established South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).

The meeting at the University of Forensic Sciences, Gandhinagar, Gujarat is the first such training to be organized for SAWEN members on wildlife law enforcement.

Senior-level government officials working in the field of wildlife conservation from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka are attending the programme which has been organized by TRAFFIC with support from the Global Tiger Forum, the Directorate of Forensic Sciences, Govt. of Gujarat and the Gujarat Forest Department.

Participants will receive a comprehensive understanding of the present scenario of wildlife crime and trade in South Asia and its implications for field conservation and be introduced to the modern tools and techniques used in strengthening wildlife law enforcement.

The programme brings together various national and international experts and agencies working in this field to exchange ideas, experiences and knowledge on curbing illegal wildlife trade. This initiative will help further strengthen collaboration amongst various South Asian countries and wildlife law enforcement agencies across the region. .

Speaking at the inaugural session, Hon. Chief Minister, Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi said: “I welcome all wildlife experts representing various countries to the State of Gujarat. It is high time that the law enforcement agencies’ focus is diverted towards prevention and detection of crimes. Gujarat State has taken a lead in this direction by establishing an important branch called ‘Wildlife Forensics’ at the State Forensic Laboratory. I compliment SAWEN Secretariat for organizing this workshop”.

Shri Balwant Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujarat said: “Illegal wildlife trade is a serious issue and requires concerted and well co-ordinated action to curb it. The newly formed South Asia Enforcement Network should help in this direction.”

All eight countries of South Asia are members of SAWEN, which was launched at an inter-governmental meeting hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan in January 2011 in Paro, Bhutan and has a Secretariat based in Nepal.

“The establishment of SAWEN was a very crucial, timely and much needed step forward to institutionalize the collaborative efforts of member nations in controlling wildlife crime in the region. I am especially happy to note that under the SAWEN work plan, the first multi country training programme on Strengthening Wildlife Law Enforcement for Wildlife Protection in South Asia is being held in Gandhinagar,” said Hon. Minister of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India, Shri Jairam Ramesh. “Gujarat has some very good successes to share in this direction.”

Mr Krishna Prasad Acharya, Chief Enforcement Co-ordinator of SAWEN & the Director General, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Nepal said: “Illegal wildlife trade is a form of trans-national organized crime that threatens many iconic species across the world. National Governments in South Asia recognize this threat and are committed to work together to counter such threats. The establishment of SAWEN is an expression of this commitment. This training programme, the first of its kind under SAWEN, will support our common cause and will surely be the first of many more such collaborative efforts.”

The key resources persons at the training programme include experts from the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Central Bureau of Investigation, Financial Intelligence Unit, Govt. of India, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Wildlife Institute of India, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime- South Asia Regional Office and TRAFFIC.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smuggler from Delhi held for possessing endangered tortoises

PTI | 08:06 PM,Jun 30,2011
Dehra Dun, Jun 30 (PTI) Uttarakhand forest department today recovered three live star tortoises here and arrested two smugglers, including one from Delhi, police today said. Following a tip-off from state anti-poaching cell, a forest department team stopped the accused near the Wadia Institute of Himalayn Geology and recovered live three star tortoises from them, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Meenakshi Joshi said. The star tortoise is an endangered species of tortoise, she added. The accused have been identified as Shivram, a resident of Delhi, and Subodh Chhilwal, belonging to Almora. They have been booked under Wildlife Protection Act

NTCA committee on orphaned tiger cubs

NAGPUR: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has constituted a three-member committee for examining issues relating to abandoned and orphaned tiger cubs from the wild, so as to explore the feasibility of their in-situ rearing and release in low tiger density habitats. The committee members are Prof PC Tyagi, YV Jhala, both scientists with Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and SP Yadav, deputy inspector general (DIG) of NTCA as the member convener.

Yadav said that the terms of reference (ToR) of the committee will include country-wide assessment of the wild caught orphaned and abandoned cubs; identification of low density tiger reserves; to give recommendation for rehabilitation of such cubs vis-Ã -vis the NTCA guidelines; to prescribe 'minimum standards' for creation of tiger safaris; and to examine feasibility of ex-situ to in-situ linkage in the context of tiger. The committee will submit its report in 60 days, Yadav said.

MoEF meet on tiger reserves: The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has called a meeting of field directors of all tiger reserves at Bandipur in Karnataka. The two-day meet on July 29 and 30, will be inaugurated by union environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh. All chief wildlife wardens of tiger-bearing states have been told to attend the meeting and make presentations on status of tiger reserves in their states.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Airport staff get training to check wildlife smuggling

NEW DELHI: In order to curb wildlife smuggling through airports, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau today started special training of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) staff, entrusted to scan check-in baggage.

As part of the training exercise for the first batch of about 30 DIAL staff, a team of three senior officials of the national wildlife crime watchdog provided them specific signatures of wildlife articles which can be identified during the scanning process.

"Every wildlife article has some key signatures which can be identified in special scanners used by airport security staff here. So we provided them with such signatures during the session. We also gave our manual to them which carries detailed information of species which are under threat," a WCCB official said.

There are about 300 personnel of DIAL who look after scanning services of check-in baggage at Indira Gandhi International Airport. In the first batch today nearly 30 officials were trained and soon WCCB plans to cover all of them in different session.

Sources said another session for different set of officials has been planned for tomorrow.

"Although no case of wildlife smuggling through airports has come to light in India but in Thailand there have been cases where tiger cubs, star tortoise have been discovered in the light. The training will help the staff to identify such articles during scanning," he said.

WCCB has been carrying out such sensitisation programmes for officials of CISF who look after hand-baggage checking and also of SSB which guards Indo-Nepal border. PTI ABS (Source)

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 convicted in for 31 years in Sariska tiger case

A court today awarded five hunters 31 years of imprisonment under six sections of the Wildlife Protection Act for killing a tigress in Sariska reserve in 2004.

The five, however, will spent altogether seven years in jail as the sentences will run concurrently.

Additional chief judicial magistrate Himankani Gaud sentenced each of the five poachers to 31 years in jail, but they will remain behind bars for seven years.

Gaud also slapped a fine of Rs 1.30 lakh on the five.

The hunters -- Jeevan Ram, Juru, Luru, Ramjan and Taiyab -- had killed the tigress in Akbarpur range of Sariska.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WCCB enlisting volunteers

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) is enlisting volunteers ready to work with organisation for natural surveillance, capacity building and awareness etc. The application can be submitted by e-mail or by post in the prescribed format available on the Bureau's website.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Meet to curb wildlife trade

Guwahati, June 5: The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has convened a meeting here tomorrow to coordinate enforcement efforts of various government agencies to curb smuggling in wildlife.

The meeting, which will be held at Assam State Zoo, will be attended by senior forest officials of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, along with top officers of various security forces and enforcement agencies, including the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, BSF, Sashastra Seema Bal, Assam Rifles, customs department and directorate of revenue intelligence, among others.

Officials of railways and postal department were also invited to the meeting, as smugglers often use trains and speed-post parcels to smuggle wildlife items.

Additional director of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Rina Mitra, the bureau’s regional deputy director (eastern region), Chaturbhuja Behera, and its wildlife inspector, Abhijit Roy Chowdhury, will be present at the meeting.

The bureau is a statutory body constituted by the Centre in 2007 to protect the country’s wildlife.

“The meeting was convened to sensitise the personnel of various agencies on different issues related to wildlife smuggling such as the routes used by the smugglers, to share data on professional poachers and their modus operandi and measures that can be taken up to prevent organised poaching and smuggling of animal parts,” Behera said.

It would also focus on strengthening and ensuring proper implementation of laws at international exit points.

Behera said animal parts like tiger bones, ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horns, deer antlers, lizards, snakes and forest produces such as red sander wood were being smuggled to places like China, Myanmar and other Southeast Asian nations through the Northeast, which was a cause for serious concern.

He said since it was the secondary and not the primary duty of the security forces to control wildlife crimes, they would also try to create awareness among the latter about the nuances of wildlife crime investigations and also about helping state governments in ensuring success in related prosecutions.

“We will try to set up a mechanism to control wildlife crime and bust international wildlife smuggling rackets based in places like Dimapur, Imphal, Moreh and Pallel, among others, in the Northeast and neighbouring countries like Myanmar and China,” Behera said.


Nearly 200 tigers fell prey to poaching in last 12 years

Nearly 200 tigers were killed by poachers in and around various forest reserves in the country, in the last 12 years, news that points out the danger that the national animal faces in its habitat.

Besides, 250 wild cats died of natural causes including old age, in fighting, starvation, road and rail accidents, electrocution and weakness during this period.

According to an RTI reply from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, 447 wild cats were reportedly found dead between 1999 and March 2011 in and around a number of natural habitats for tigers, of which 197 were poached.

The ministry also noted that poaching was the major cause behind disappearance of tigers from Sariska and Panna reserves.

“The cases of local extinction of tigers were reported in Sariska, Rajasthan (2005) and Panna, Madhya Pradesh (2008). As reported, poaching of tigers was the major cause of their extinction,” National Tiger Conservation Authority under the MoEF said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.

A highest of 36 each tigers were poached in 2001 and 2002, followed by 24 each in 1999 and in 2010, it said. Two tigers were found to be killed in poaching between January and March 17 this year, the reply said.

Whereas 20 wild cats were killed in 2003, 17 in 2009, 10 in 2007, nine each in 2000 and 2008, and five fell prey to hunters in 2006, it said.

The ministry, however, did not give details of action taken reports in the cases of poaching, saying that concerned state governments were the custodian of information.