There is evidence that some wildlife crime syndicates are linked to terror groups, India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told a meeting Friday of police, customs and wildlife officers from eight countries.
At the five-day meeting co-convened by Interpol’s Environmental Crime Program and India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, CBI, Natarajan said, “The existence of illegal wildlife trade undermines efforts made by a country to protect their natural resources. Recent evidence points at, as CBI must be knowing, some of the networks are linked with terror groups.”
Opening the meeting, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha described wildlife crime as a highly organized, transnational crime conducted by an extensive network of criminals.
Referring to tigers as the “greatest living symbol of our natural world,” Sinha called for greater coordination between intelligence and law enforcement agencies across international borders.
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau in India, National Tiger Conservation Authority and TRAFFIC India were partners in the workshop held for law enforcement officials from the eight countries in the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network, SAWEN: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Dr. Maheshwar Dhakal of the Bhutan-based SAWEN Secretariat highlighted the need for capacity building of law enforcement agencies of the eight SAWEN countries through networking and information sharing to combat wildlife crime in the South Asia region. More....