Training for airport staff to check illegal wildlife trade in Odisha

Police had seized monitor lizard body parts, ivory and pangolin scales

Published: 09th September 2017 02:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2017 10:21 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has planned to train security personnel manning the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) in identification of wildlife items to prevent any possibility of trafficking through air route. The central agency, an arm of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), held discussions with the State and Central agencies operating in the State at its second inter-agency meeting here on Friday. Prospects of smugglers carrying wildlife items through the airport also came up for discussion. It was felt that since the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) carries out the checks through baggage scanners, they must be sensitised to identify wildlife items.

“There are various kinds of animal body parts which are trafficked and it can be prevented only if the security personnel are aware how to recognise and detect them. The staff manning the baggage scanners need specific training,” said sources. A training programme will be planned by WCCB with support from Wildlife Wing of the State Government and Wildlife Crime Cell for this purpose.

The meeting, chaired by Additional Director of WCCB Tilottama Verma, operational chief of the agency, also deliberated on how to develop ground-level intelligence and convert the same to action plans.
 The WCCB successfully carried out six joint operations in Bhubaneswar, Nayagarh and Bargarh recently during which it busted smuggling of monitor lizard body parts, ivory, pangolin scales, antelope horns and bear nails among other things.

Since Odisha is a bio-diversity rich State, the members at the meeting spoke about the need to keep ears to the ground to check wildlife trade. Poaching of elephants, bears, leopards, pangolins and lizards is well documented in the State while smuggling of tortoise to West Bengal is wide-spread. Keeping an eye on illegal sale of scueduled animals and birds was another area debated in the meeting.

Apart from putting a check on wildlife trade which leads to poaching, the meeting laid emphasis on sharing of information by the agencies, capacity building, increased collaboration and sensitisation. Keeping a watch on emergence of trafficking and transit routes was also discussed. PCCF (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy, Field Director of Similipal HK Bisht, FD of Saktkosia Sudarshan Panda, IG (Railway) Arun Bothra, senior officials from Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Indian Coast Guard, East Coast Railway, Airport Authority of India, CBI and Regional Natural History Museum were also present.

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