Meghalaya: Elephants from Northeast India at increased risk of illegal wildlife trade! (India and Bangladesh)


The Northeast

Date Published

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Director General of Forests, Siddhanta Das said that the trade in wildlife is the fourth international trade that is threatening the whole global region.

“After the trafficking of drugs and arms, wildlife trade is the next major trade having its network all over the world. Protecting wildlife from all sorts of threats is a top priority of the government, particularly the problem of illicit wildlife trade,” Das said while addressing the inaugural function of the 2nd Indo-Bangladesh Dialogue on Trans-Boundary Elephant Conservation which was held at the State Convention Centre here on Thursday.

It may be mentioned that over the years, illegal wildlife trade has emerged as a form of Organised Transnational Crime that has threatened the existence of many wild species across the globe.

In India, it includes diverse products including mongoose hair, snake skins, Rhino horn, Tiger and Leopard claws, bones, skins, whiskers, Elephant tusks, deer antlers, shahtoosh shawl, turtle shells, musk pods, bear bile, medicinal plants, timber and caged birds such as parakeets, mynas, munias etc. A large part of this trade is meant for the international market and has no direct demand in India.

India has a strong legal and policy framework to regulate and restrict wildlife trade. Trade in over 1800 species of wild animals, plants and their derivative is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Pointing out that there is a large population of elephant in Northeast India, he said that these elephants will keep moving from one place to another.

“Therefore, it is important to maintain these identified elephant corridor to ensure a safe passage to the elephants,” Das said. On the compensation during the human-elephant conflict, he said that the issue has to be handled by the State Government.

“The Centre provides support only if there is request from the State Government. The assistance provided by the Centre varies from one State to another,” Director General of Forests said.

Bangladesh Government Chief Conservator of Forest, Md. Shafiul Alam Chowdhury said that the Bangladesh Government has devised a number of policies, developed relevant regulations and legislation to protect elephants.

“The disappearance of elephants from their natural habitats as a result of human actions would be indefensible on our responsibility as the keepers of the natural world. If we cannot protect the elephants from extinction  then this will unquestionably be an indicator for the collapse of many other species and wilderness in the future,” he said.