India, US to deepen cooperation against wildlife trafficking
New Delhi, Jan 29 : US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and Environment Robert D Hormats today called for high-level political will, public outreach, and greater international coordination and cooperation to combat wildlife trafficking
Pointing out that illegal wildlife trade was estimated at 10- 20 billion dollars annually, and was among the largest sources of illegal trade, Dr Hormats also stressed the need of strengthening of regional enforcement networks such as the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN). He was speaking while co-chairing a roundtable on wildlife trafficking with WWF CEO Ravi Singh here
Increased firepower and ruthless tactics on the part of the poachers jeopardise security, stability and the rule of law in countries across the globe. Beyond moral and environmental implications, largescale poaching threatens the livelihoods and economic opportunities of local communities, he said. Mr Singh noted the intimate link between the decline of India's wildlife species, and alarming trends in illegal wildlife trafficking. He said it was imperative that issues of illegal wildlife trade were taken up in a strategic manner, linking national agencies and senior government executives. '' Here, the US government could be an important partner on global wildlife intelligence, networking and sharing of best practices in enforcement.'' Dr Shekhar Kumar Niraj, Head-India chapter of TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, highlighted the magnitude of wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade, and how it has evolved to be one of the most important challenges in conservation of species today
Whether at the local, regional or global, the efforts to eliminate wildlife crimes need to be assisted collectively with our trained skills, scientific knowledge, and improved resources, he said. He underlined that the United States and India had worked together on wildlife conservation for over 25 years. ''We will continue to work together to combat poaching, manage our wildlife resources, improve enforcement capacity, and reduce consumer demand for illegal wildlife products,'' he said. The roundtable was organised by the US Embassy and WWF/TRAFFIC India--US and Indian government officials, NGOs, wildlife lawyers and enforcement officials discussed some of their challenges, and successes in combating wildlife trafficking.