Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS–India) in collaboration with the Tripura Forest Department organized a two-day long capacity building workshop from December 4. As many as 65 officers and frontline staff of Tripura Forest Department, Border Security Force, Central Industry Security Forces, Railway Protection Force, Airport Authority of India-Tripura and Tripura Police attended the workshop. The training focused on the capacity building of enforcement officers to combat wildlife trafficking in the region.
Trainees participating in search and seizure exercise
The workshop, held at Tripura Forest Development & Plantation Corporation in Agartala, started with Dr Alind Rastogi, Indian Forest Service (IFS), Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), and Dr D K Sharma, IFS, APCCF of Tripura Forest Department, addressing the participants on importance of combating wildlife crime in the region. The speakers emphasized the need for a collaborative, inter-agency approach to preventing wildlife trafficking and stressed the need for such workshops.
“Tripura is a major transit hub for trafficking of freshwater turtles and tortoises. It’s time we co-operate to stop wildlife trafficking in the state,” said Dr Sharma.
Prakriti Srivastava, IFS, Country Director, WCS-India addressing the participants
Prakriti Srivastava, Country director, WCS–India, explained the severity of wildlife crime and its degrading impact on wildlife. She also spoke about how inter-agency collaboration can effectively bring wildlife offenders to justice.
Ms. Sahila Kudalkar, Project Manager, CWT, WCS-India taking session on Introduction to Wildlife Crime
The technical session was kicked off by Sahila Kudalkar, project manager, CWT, WCS - India, as she gave an overview of wildlife trade in India, situating it within the current global scenario. A session on the identification of commonly trafficked wildlife, their parts, and products with a particular focus on illegal turtle trade was conducted by Anirban Chaudhuri, training co-ordinator, CWT, WCS - India.
Dr. Shailendra Singh, Associate Director, WCS-India conducting session on illegal turtle trade and rehabilitation of confiscated turtles
Dr Shailendra Singh, associate director, aquatic wildlife, WCS - India, took the session forward by covering the technicalities of rehabilitation of confiscated live turtles, followed up by a session on procedures of search, seizures and preparation of case documents by Mridula Vijairaghavan, legal advisor, WCS – India. Role of forensics in analysing wildlife crimes by Dr H K Patihari, director, Forensic Science Laboratory, was yet another informative discussion.
The workshop also included discussions on provisions listed under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, by advocate, Samir Majumder, followed up by a discussion on further recourse by Mridula.
WCS staff, D P Bankhwal, took a short session on Call Data Record (CDR). The last session of the workshop was conducted by Dr Sabyasachi Nath, SSO, bio-Sero division that focused on DNA profiling and forensic evidence collected at a wildlife crime scene. His session gave an overview on how forensic evidences need to be collected carefully.
Interesting games and simulation exercises including mock court sessions were also organized as part of the workshop.