Guwahati, June 23 : It has been a tough task in the Indian State of Nagaland to combat Wildlife crime under the provision of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 given that common masses notwithstanding their penchant for conservation of nature, considers hunting a cultural tradition.
Addressing a sensitiation workshop on creating synergy in combating wildlife crime, which was well attended by senior forest and Nagaland Police officials in Kohima today, the SP, Kohima, Kevithuto Sophie underlined that mass people in Nagaland who understand the preciousness nature, must be made a part of the effort to prevent wildlife crime.
He also candidly said that the State Forest Department must find a way to regulate haphazard stone quarrying and extraction of boulders from river beds which have spelt doom for the state's biodiversity. He further said the privileged people in the state must become more sensitive for conservation of biodiversity.
Region’s premier biodiversity conservation and research organisation, Aaranyak as part of its continuous endeavour to sensitise and create synergy across spectrum for forces and grassroots people, conducted the sensitisation programme on “Biodiversity Conservation and Combating Wildlife Crimes” for Forest and Police Personnel of Nagaland at the Conference Hall of Forest Offices Complex in Kohima in collaboration with Nagaland State Biodiversity Board (NSBB) and with support from US Fish and Wildlife Service.
North East India, because of its richness in biodiversity, remains in focus of the global clandestine cartel of wildlife traders as well as criminals that instigates poaching of wildlife as well as bio-piracy of floral resources.
One of the most notorious routes through which the illegal trade in wildlife parts and products thrives is through the Indian states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Myanmar.
The reality requires the enforcement agencies deployed across the region including forest and wildlife personnel, state police forces, border guarding forces to remain on high alert and highly sensitised about prevention of wildlife crime and illegal trade in wildlife. For this purpose, an efficient synergy has to be in vogue amongst all the forces in this vulnerable region.
Satya Prakash Tripathi, Chairman of Nagaland State Biodiversity Board (NSBB) underlined the need for creating awareness for biodiversity conservation among the masses on combating wildlife crimes and preservation of biodiversity.
“As about 80 per cent of Nagaland’s forest area is under private or community holding, the people must be made to understand the need for protection of wildlife and provisions of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, Secretary General and CEO, Aaranyak in a recorded message said creating a strong information sharing system was very important and crucial in order to build a strong network to curb wildlife crime that is the fourth largest in the world.
Nagaland’s Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), M Senthil Kumar said the forest department had been making sustained efforts for efficient implementation of Wildlife (Protection) Act in Nagaland even though people in general here culturally consider hunting a way of life.
Conservator of Forest, K Hukato Chishi commented that though hunting had been a way of life among Naga people today over 60 percent of the population support conservation of wildlife.
During Technical Sessions, Ms. Savinuo, Kikhi, FRO, NSBB, made a power presentation on the Biodiversity Act, 1972 and the Biodiversity Rules, 2012. She highlighted the importance of biodiversity in our life.
Dr. Jimmy Borah, Senior Manager, Aranyak made a powerpoint presentation on “Overview of Wildlife Crimes focusing on rhino and tigers at global and regional level” and elaborated on why wildlife is traded and the global and regional mandates and laws which can be enforced in order to combat it.
Ms. Ivy Farheen Hussain, Project Officer, Aranyak made a powerpoint presentation on “Wildlife Crimes on high value species at local level” and the modus operandi of common wildlife crimes in the region.
She also flagged the role of stakeholders in combating wildlife crime. The resource persons made a powerpoint presentation on “Identification and Understanding commonly used wildlife products in the region”
The following points emerged during the evaluation of sensitization programme- * Continuity of such sensitization programme in future for Forest and Police personnel; necessity of sustained awareness campaign for conservation of forest, wildlife and biodiversity at grass-root level and facilitating synergy amongst Nagaland Forest Department, Nagaland Police , NSBB, WCCB, MOEF&CC, GoI, Aranyak and other agencies for creating awareness among public for conservation of wildlife and biodiversity conservation as well as combating wildlife crime.