Cash awards for informers on wildlife crime

wildlife crime
Thu, May 9, 2019

Collective efforts sought at Nathu La trade route against wildlife trafficking

Staff Reporter
The Nathu La border trade, between Sikkim in India and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China, resumed on May 1 for this season and is accompanied by concerns of illegal wildlife trafficking through the mountainous corridor.
The East Wildlife Division, Forest department has been expressing concern on the probability of illegal wildlife dealings that could occur during cross border trade. The Nathu La trade has its share of illegal wildlife trafficking since it restarted in the year 2006. Last season, the Customs officials posted at the border seized around 56 kg of dried seahorses from a trader.
As shared by the East Wildlife Division, the main concern is that any such illegal activity with regard to wildlife articles must immediately be informed to wildlife sector so that a strong case be made out under the provisions of the Wildlife
(Protection) Act,1972. It is imperative that the Wildlife Division is involved at the first instance before taking any such case further by other agencies. This is to ensure that the prima-facie evidence that could essential be missed out otherwise is collected by the Wildlife Division dealing specifically with the Act.
The East Wildlife Division has opined that such illegal activity can only be curbed through joint efforts of various line departments, both Central and State, operating in the area. They have requested the line departments operating in the border trade area to direct their personnel to remain vigilant for detecting any illegal wildlife articles that could pass through various checkpoints. Contact numbers of the East Wildlife Division officers have been shared with the agencies for passing information on any suspicious case. In many instances, the East Wildlife Division has received help from agencies like SSB and the Police department for which they remain grateful.
“Dealing with wildlife articles without permission is an offence under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Most of the wildlife articles trafficked belong to Schedule I species which is the most protected and the punishment for violation is stringent under the Act,” said Dechen Lachungpa, DFO (WL), East.
The East Wildlife Division is also offering cash rewards to informers of wildlife crime. The division has also committed total secrecy of the informer. They have appealed that people should come forward and inform about such cases without any hesitation or fear.
There have been concerns from various quarters over the cases coming up of wildlife trafficking in Sikkim or through the State.
Yesterday, the North Bengal Foresters had arrested five persons from Sikkim for wildlife trafficking after a dead pangolin was found in their alleged possession. The accused persons were nabbed near Kalijhora Bridge on the way to Siliguri.
As per the North Bengal officials, the pangolin was killed at a reserve forest in Sikkim. The consignment was being taken to Bhutan.
The Sikkim Forest Department is in touch with the North Bengal Foresters and is following the case closely, it was informed.
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DFO, Wildlife East Division: 7679699244
RO, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary: 9735989995
RO, Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary: 7679256844

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi