The report, compiled by the Counter Wildlife Trafficking team at Wildlife Conservation Society-India, attempts to document and understand the illegal trade in red sand boas (Eryx johnii) in India using information collected from media articles on seizures. The report uses 172 red sand boa seizure incidents between 2016- 2021, which were reported in online media articles, to map and understand the trade. The report also has a partial ‘Crime Script’ that examines the different stages of the trade and the role of various ‘actors’ involved in it.
Nirmal Kulkarni, Senior Consultant, WCS-India and an experienced herpetologist, says, “The red sand boa is now acknowledged as one of the most traded reptile species in the illegal trade market, due to its demand in the pet trade, as well as for use in black magic.”.
Uttara Mendiratta, Programme Head, Counter Wildlife Trafficking programme of Wildlife Conservation Society-India, says, “The red sand boa is classified as a Near Threatened species by IUCN, with a decreasing population in most habitat ranges. This report is an attempt to bring to light the trade in red sand boas, especially online trade, and to develop a better understanding that might help prevent this illegal collection and sale”.
The report includes a set of potential short-term and long-term recommendations that could help address the illegal trade of native sand boa species in the domestic market. The recommendations include building the capacity of journalists in India to reduce the scope of misinformation related to the use and consumption of wildlife species. The report also lists the potential of partnerships with social media platforms, which have emerged as a growing space for sellers to advertise the sale of red sand boas in India. The report also highlights the need for dialogue between enforcement agencies, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to help address the illegal trade of this species.
The report is available on the following link: https://doi.org/10.19121/2020.Report.43708