|Tackling the trade in lesser known endangered species
Posted by: Shubhobroto Ghosh / posted on June 9th, 2014
to protect wildlife species, such as pangolins, birds, tortoises and
sharks, whose illegal trade in India is poorly known were formulated
today during a meeting held in New Delhi.
policy makers; scientists; research scholars; conservationists; and
senior officials from the state forest departments, Ministry of
Environment and Forests, enforcement agencies, Wildlife Institute of
India (WII), WCCB, and wildlife NGOs brainstormed the steps needed to
protect the future of some lesser known species.
Every year in
India, hundreds of pangolins, lizards and tortoises are poached, an
estimated 700,000 birds are illegally trapped, and about 70,000 tonnes
of sharks are caught, yet the levels of exploitation on these species
are rarely reported.
“While the threat posed by illegal wildlife
trade to some of India’s most iconic wild animals, such as the Tiger
and Indian Rhinoceros are well publicised, many of India’s less
well-known species are also rapidly vanishing because to poaching, yet
their fate remains largely under the radar,” said Dr Shekhar Kumar
Niraj, Head of TRAFFIC in India.
“Pangolins are highly
threatened because they are subject to a colossal illegal trade
internationally, yet their plight is barely publicised in conservation
or media circles. Others, like the monitor lizard, mongoose, Star
Tortoises, Spiny-tailed Lizards, freshwater and mariner turtles also
need immediate attention.”
Monitor lizards, especially the
Bengal Monitor, were once commonly seen across the country but appear
to have declined markedly, apparently after becoming a target of
unabated poaching and illegal trade.
Little is known about the
levels of illegal trade or its impact on species such as sea cucumbers,
seahorses or Red Sand, the “double-headed” snake, has recently been in
demand due to the new age superstitions attached to it.
has flagged its concern about these lesser known species for some time,
highlighting our concerns in our newsletter—TRAFFIC Post—and also
through the distribution of posters and other awareness raising
materials,” said Dr Niraj.