By Akash Vashishtha
Evidences on record show terror groups are behind illegal poaching in India, says environment ministry.
The government has, finally, acknowledged that wildlife poaching in the country is linked to terror. The ministry of environment and forests has reportedly shared the links of the poaching networks with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The ministry, on the basis of leads gathered from its various wildlife wings, has asked the CIA to probe the link between wildlife poaching in the country and terror networks operating in South Asia.
‘Given the use of highly sophisticated weapons and assault rifles and the modus operandi of the poaching gangs, we strongly fear that some terror groups are behind the poaching incidents in India. We have provided some information to the Central Intelligence Agency,’ a top wildlife official of the ministry of environment and forests told this correspondent on request of anonymity.
‘There are some organised, transnational groups engaged in the wildlife crimes in India, which are believed to have an extensive network. The CIA has been assigned to investigate their role. There are some evidences but they are yet to be verified,’ the official said.
Apart from the CIA, the ministry is also known to have shared the details with Interpol and the CBI.
The poaching gangs, sources said, could have been linked to terror outfits in Bangladesh, Nepal, which may be part of a larger international terror syndicate with its base in Pakistan. The harbouring of such poaching gangs by China is also a subject of investigation.
While most of the rhino horns are traded illegally into Vietnam and China, tiger skins also find most of their way into Tibet and China. Similarly, ivory trade is dominated by gangs operating in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam in Asia, apart from Cameroon, Gabon and Mozambique in Africa.