The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-India, conducted a two-day capacity building workshop to combat wildlife trafficking on 26th and 27th of December, 2019. The workshop, held at the Central Academy of Forest Education in West Bengal, was attended by 34 ranger trainees.
“The workshop was for ranger trainees. By conducting a workshop at the academy, we did not only get future rangers from across the country at one place as our audience, but also grabbed the opportunity of catching them young. Since the participants were not from one region, we stressed upon general wildlife trade issues. We focused on most targeted species like pangolins, tigers, leopards, as well as on wildlife trafficking laws,” said Anirban Chaudhuri, Training Co-ordinator, Counter Wildlife Trafficking (CWT), WCS-India.
The session began with an introduction on wildlife trafficking and its scale in India. Conducted by Anirban, the session was followed by a discussion on the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 by Advocate Samir Mazumder. The session gave a purview of the Act and other legal statutes enforceable within the territorial jurisdiction of India. Participants were introduced to the commonly traded wild animals and their parts and products in trade through a session conducted by Anirban.
Advocate Samir Majumder taking session on Introduction to Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
The resource persons held a detailed session on search, seizure and preparation of case documents which included much discussion with the participants, along with an activity related to search and seizure protocols.
The workshop also focused on effective patrolling strategies, wildlife crime investigation cases, approaches that officers adopt to carry out thorough investigations, filing of complaints and elements that make up a good and sound complaint. Under a field exercise, mock crime scenes were set up. The teams were asked to investigate the crime and fill out a Wildlife Offence Report based on their investigation. The workshop also educated the participants on seizure list activity, offered hands-on experience with mock courts and updated them on arrest and preparation of case documents.
Anirban Chaudhuri, taking session on commonly trafficked wild animals & their parts
Participant Anuj Sharma said, “It was one of the best workshops I have attended. The training was so interactive that it didn’t feel like a training session at all. I didn’t know details about a few things which I learned during this workshop--like species identification, and identification of wildlife articles. I learnt a lot more about the Wildlife Protection Act.”
Another participant, Jyoti Joshi, said: “This two-day workshop was very good. We work in a field where we need to be aware of certain aspects which was exactly what we got out of the workshop. We had a session which included a mock drill of a wildlife crime scene, which was very interactive and useful.”