Crimes against wildlife tabulated for better action
Neha Shukla, TNN 8 October 2009, 05:02am IST
LUCKNOW: The planning related to wildlife conservation in the country might get a clear direction now, since the first national level database on wildlife crime has been compiled and completed. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) which is the head organisation for wildlife conservation has got the crime figures compiled in collaboration with a private agency TRAFFIC-India.
The copies of the database were handed over to the members of NTCA on Tuesday. “It does not only talk about tiger mortalities or extent of wildlife crime but also contains clear guidelines for wildlife conservation,” said Rajesh Gopal, member secretary, NTCA, New Delhi. The states with tiger ranges and field directors of all 28 tiger reserves will have access to it.
The country never before had a full-fledged national-level database on wildlife crime which always made it difficult to assess the extent of crime. “This one contains the figures as old as it can get and we will keep updating it with time,” said Gopal.
So far the broadest database was with Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) which had been compiling figures since 1994. Going by the figures compiled by WPSI, on an average 600 complaints of wildlife crime are getting registered each year. “This is the average as it is always difficult talking about exact figures,” said Tito Joseph, WPSI.
But with the coming up of a national level database, the concept of wildlife conservation might be revamped, added Gopal. It will not only keep track of mortalities but will also pinpoint places which record higher wildlife crime, the routes of wildlife trade and also the “repeat offenders” (offenders who keep returning to commit crime owing to lower conviction rate).
It will also have the number of wildlife complaints that have been worked out. “The figures will help assess the vulnerability of tiger reserves and plan security measures accordingly,” said Gopal.
The database was under construction for approximately over a year or so. In a fortnight it might be uploaded on the web as well. “We are putting it through certain security checks and once done it will be online for all to see,” said Samir Sinha, head, TRAFFIC-India. The access to it will be regulated by NTCA.
TRAFFIC had earlier developed a similar database for EU and Indian database has been developed on almost similar lines. “We have got the figures from states and enforcement agencies and have analysed them in the best possible manner,” said Sinha.