ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     1st November 2023        
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Context: Recently, a new report by the nonprofit Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) revealed fresh evidence showing the convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organized crime, further underscoring the organization's efforts to dismantle these criminal networks.

Report on Wildlife Trafficking

  • The commission has observed close links of wildlife trade with protection rackets, extortion, murder, money laundering, illicit drugs, tax evasion and corruption.
  • The sand is extracted from rivers, coastal or marine ecosystems and has enormous environmental impacts — mining causes erosion and directly affects communities and their livelihoods.
  • Indiscriminate extraction negatively impacts aquifers, reduces protection against storm surges, shrinks deltas, freshwater and marine fisheries, land-use changes and biodiversity.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

  • About: Illegal wildlife trade refers to the illegal activities involving the capture, collection, transport, and trade of wildlife and their products, including live animals, animal parts, and derivatives.
  • In India, trade in over 1,800 species of wild animals, plants and their derivatives, is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Illegal Wildlife Trade Impact on Climate Change

  • Deforestation: Illegal logging for timber and conversion of forests to agricultural land contribute to deforestation, releasing carbon dioxide and reducing carbon sinks.
  • Carbon Storage: Large-bodied species targeted in the illegal wildlife trade, such as elephants, play a crucial role in carbon storage through their interactions with vegetation and soil.
  • Disrupted Ecosystems: Illegal trade disrupts ecosystems, impacting their ability to sequester carbon and maintain ecological balance.

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)

  • About: It is a statutory multi-disciplinary body, established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • Headquarter: New Delhi.
  • Function: It collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to the State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals. It establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank. Etc.
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