With a lot of technological advancements and the rapid rise of the industrialization across the globe, the environmental, ecological and climatic conditions of our planet “Earth” is being shelved, resulting in the cause of the man-made disasters such as deforestation and harm to wildlife. Such man-made disasters are indirectly triggering the natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, giant storms, tsunamis thus traumatizing not only the human habitat but also all kinds of plant and animal species on earth; endangering their existence.
In recent years, increase in the exploitation of the environment by humans, has led to the patterns of habitat destruction, fragmentation and defaunation resulting in the extinction of a particular species. Trading the wildlife is one such instance of the major and easiest avenues of environmental exploitation adopted and triggered by humans. The wildlife species is an essential habitat of the ecology and most important part of world’s heritage and culture. Their rate of depletion and the percentage of survival is a crucial factor for the functioning of the ecosystem and to conserve the bio-diversity.
India, being a bio-diversified country, is a home for several varieties of wildlife plant species and animal species such as tigers, leopards, elephants, and rhinoceros to name a few. Due to its varied heritage, India has become the hotspot to carry out the trading of Wildlife species. It is a major supplier of wildlife products to the international market. Even though such trading of wildlife is illegal in India, it is still one of the most prevalent and flourishing trades.
Regulation for protection
To regulate such a flourishing illegal trading of wildlife species in India, with a sole aim is to protect and conserve the wildlife, India framed and enacted the legal policies and a legal act i.e., Wildlife Protection Act in 1972.Apart from this, India also signed an International agreement, CITES –Convention on international trade in endangered species of flora and fauna (http://www.cites.org), and is an active member of CITES since 1976.It is also associated with TRAFFIC (http://www.traffic.org) which works closely with the National and the State Governments and various agencies to help study, monitor and influence action to curb illegal wildlife trade. Other autonomous institutions that are influenced by the central Govt. are Wildlife Institute of India and WWF-India.
Though India has set the legal framework of laws and policies for wildlife protection and conservation, the law implementation and enforcement of such policies are yet naïve. Thus this lack of strict enforcement of laws and policies has paved different ways to the suppliers to do the wildlife trade with a lot of ease, liberty, and flexibility.
To name a few threatened species in the ecology:
- Tigers and leopards –killed for their claws, bones, skin, flesh, and blood
- Tibetan Antelopes and deer found in Himalayan ranges – are killed for its wool – Shawls made of its wool are highly expensive which costs above INR 80000 (used as luxury clothing)
- Live birds such as mynahs, parakeets are used as exported pets
- Rhinos – killed for their horns, meat and bones which costs above INR2,00,000
- Elephants -Killed for their ivory tusks
- Non-venomous snakes, gecko, star shelled tortoises – killed for the exceptional medicinal benefits
- Fishes and sharks, dolphins, octopuses –consumed as food
- Medicinal wild plants – used to cure diseases – but they are on the verge of being extinct as unsustainable harvest.
The rise of the illegal trade of wildlife
Though the aforementioned species are not extinct, their rate of survival is at risk. This kind of trade is enabled by the small time poachers and hunters or the tribes who are the habitats of the forest environment. They sell the animal/plant products, at an attractive sale price, to whosoever demands it. This way the animal/plant products get exchanged by several hands to finally end up earning its reach into the huge market.
Few buyers are unaware of what they buy – is this jacket made of real fur or faux fur? Most of these buyers tend to live a luxurious, highly branded life. They are not bothered about using leather belts, shoes and purses made out of animal’s skin. Neither do they mind using fashion jewellery, made out animal’s teeth, paws /claws?
They simply spend a huge amount of money to buy animal products just to maintain a status quotient.And this is how the illegal trade remains alive. But where are the revenues and funds, which are being generated by such illegal trade, going? The answer to this question can unfurl the multitude of illegal activities happening in the world.
However, the Government of India is still striving hard to meet the ends. A lot of studies and investigations done with regards to the illegal trade of wildlife have gone in vain as they all lacked substantial evidence.
Measures to be taken to curb the illegal trade
Such an illegal trade of wildlife flourishing in India needs an immediate intervention to curb these activities to protect the wildlife. The Govt. of India and all other associated agencies must run the awareness programs to educate the people. People need to be made aware of the illegal activities pertaining to the violation of the Wildlife Act.
The people should be monitored at regular intervals of time for any such violation strictly. If found guilty, they need to be charged fines along with imprisonment as per the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
It is the responsibility of Govt. to protect such wildlife/migrating species by building natural sanctuaries. Also, facilitate animals with a natural habitat, free and safe from poachers. New technology-based rules and regulations must be framed at par with international standards. This curbs both conventional systems of trading and emerging e-commerce system of trading. Identify different areas of trading system and supply chain management that enables this illegal trading system and break the supply chains so that suppliers do not reach their intended consumers.
All forest rangers must be well rewarded. They are the first line of service, risking and sacrificing their lives to protect the wildlife every day!
The wildlife products are generated by snatching away the fetal babies from their mother’s womb. Sometimes, the babies are separated from their mothers. These little animals are brutally killed and the parts of their bodies are sold. The adult animals are food poisoned, shot or trapped in pits/nets or hung/burnt until their death. Is this humane?
Humans commit crimes at ease because these animals are mute. They are fighting and will keep fighting the humans until the last breath of the existence of their species.
- As a civilized society and responsible citizens, why are we unable lend the voice to the mute?
- Why are we not doing our bit to save their lives from few dirty and bloody hands?
- By keeping quiet, aren’t we letting this heinous illegal activity flourish?
- Isn’t it our responsibility to save our Mother Nature and isn’t this our time to take the Call for action?
If this case continues, then that day is not far when humans will start to exploit their own race.
Spread awareness on the illegal trade of wildlife in India and support to eradicate the brutal killings of ecological species. Do your bit, to live in peace and harmony with our Mother Nature –The Earth. SAVE EARTH, SAVE HER CHILDREN!