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India joins hands with 50 countries

                                                                                                 The Pioneer, New Delhi, 14th February, 2014
India has joined hands with 50 countries in the world in the two days London Conference on illegal wildlife trade of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other endangered wildlife species. The UK Government has announced a £10 million package to support efforts by the participating countries to combat wildlife trafficking.

The meeting that concluded on Thursday, has come out with the horrifying estimate of one rhino being killed every 11 hours in the world.The Indian side was represented by members from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau(WCCB), Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and Traffic India through tele conferencing.

"Such an event emphasising on global initiative, can strengthen enforcement mechanism in dealing with cross border wildlife trade especially amongst the eight South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network , which include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka", said the sources in WCCB.

"Although the London conference is mainly highlighting the plight of rhinos, tigers and elephants, there are many other species that are lesser known but equally threatened by the destructive and pervasive illegal wildlife trade," said Dr Shekhar Niraj, Head of TRAFFIC India. Such species include pangolin, turtle, star tortoise amongst others which are flooding the illegal wildlife trade.

Since, such crimes are being committed by organised gangs of international poachers, with access to latest technology and skills, such conference can create a platform for the exchange of technical expertise with advanced nations can help in cracking hi-tech wildlife cases, said Dr. Niraj.

The conference stressed on the use of "smart" technology such as GPS trackers and drones to protect animals at risk. It also exhorted the various governments and local bodies to send out the message that no one should trade or buy rhino horn, ivory, tiger or other wild life parts and products. Apart from strengthening law enforcement and criminal justice, the other priority issues addressed included, reducing demand for illegal wildlife products and supporting sustainable livelihoods for communities that live alongside wildlife habitats.