Cop help to save wildlife
To give teeth to its operations in the state, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau will soon appoint an Assam police officer of a rank not less than deputy inspector-general of police as the nodal officer here. The senior police officer would be the bureau’s second nodal officer in the state, the first being conservator of forest S.S. Rao who was appointed a few months ago. Rao said that the involvement of the police department was essential as the bureau planned to build up a strong intelligence network to check the recent spurt in wildlife crime in the state. The move follows the recovery of large consignments of animal parts from the state, the latest being the seizure of tiger bones and pangolin scales from the airport here last week. The poaching of rhinos in the state’s national parks has also increased. “Trade in wildlife parts has turned into a lucrative business and we need help from the police and other agencies to fight it,” a senior official of the bureau said. “Apart from the police, we are also in touch with the army, the BSF, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Sashastra Seema Bal,” Rao said.
The bureau had set up two regional offices in the Northeast — in Manipur and here — about six months ago. Manipur’s border town of Moreh is believed to be the main route through which wildlife parts from the region, particularly Assam, find their way to the international market. The forest department is also trying to train fresh rangers to check wildlife crime in the state, which houses several national parks and sanctuaries. A senior forest official said a commando of the elite National Security Guard (NSG) was imparting rigorous training to about 250 recruits, including women, at the Assam forest school in Jalukbari.
“Poachers are no longer armed with single-barrel guns but sophisticated weapons and also have links with militants. We need well-trained forest staff to fight them,” he added. Rangers at Kaziranga and Orang national parks had recovered telescopic rifles and poisoned-tipped bullets from poachers a few years ago. The forest official said the NSG training would be a moral booster for forest guards.
Courtesy: The Telegraph