Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - India, in collaboration with the Assam Forest Department, organized a capacity building workshop on December 9 – December 10 to combat wildlife trafficking. As many as 34 forest officials from the Nameri National Park and Pakke Tiger Reserve attended the workshop held at Nameri National Park.
Participants at the workshop
The workshop began with a session by Aditi Rajan, WCS-India staff, on the introduction of wildlife trafficking and the scale of this issue in India. Dev Prakash Bankhwal, CWT team leader, WCS-India and IFS (Retd.), continued the workshop on day one by shedding light on the role of the Forest Department in preventing wildlife crime. An overview session on the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, was also organized.
MI Varghese taking the search and seizure protocol
The participants were given hands-on training on investigating a crime scene, collecting evidence, interrogating witnesses and preparing a seizure memo. A discussion session was held on common pitfalls in the procedures like drafting a complaint and registering wildlife offense reports.
Crime simulation exercise
"The participants gained insight into the technicalities involved in crime scene investigation, and how to systematically go about it. They were also trained in identifying various concealment techniques involved in wildlife crime," said Aditi.
The final session of the workshop focussed on species’ identification, information about commonly trafficked birds and reptiles, body parts, products and concealment methods of contraband in the trade. An interactive card matching game was also held where trainees had to match 'trafficked product' to 'species'.
The workshop was also attended by Tana Tapi, Divisional Forest Officer, Pakke Tiger Reserve, who congratulated the WCS-India team for organizing the event and requested the participants to use the information and knowledge they gained in the sessions.
"This is the third workshop from WCS-India I am attending and I got to learn something new in each one of them," said Debashish Buragshain, RFO, Nameri Wildlife Range and one of the participants.