Friday, November 26

Indiana Jones,Han Solo explains importance of Wild Life in St Petersburg summit

When Harrison Ford stars, the audience expects a hero. Two years back Harrison Ford's portrayal of Indiana Jones fighting Soviets earned protests from communists and added the Communist Party of St Petersburg to his list of adversaries.

Today he is loved for his commitment to save wildlife trade. At Tiger summit in St Petersburg the Indian Jones was in a different avatar. He demanded wildlife conservation and to stop the illegal wildlife trade.

Wildlife Trade is is any sale or exchange of wild animal and plant resources by people. The international wildlife trade is a serious conservation problem. Over the years illegal wildlife trade has emerged as a form of Organized Transnational Crime that has threatened the existence of many wild species across the globe. Wildlife trade is a source of easy money for organized crime groups because the profits are lucrative and the risk of detection is low. Even if caught, prosecutions are often difficult and penalties minimal.

There is not a single country in the world that has the response to wildlife crime right.

The global illegal trade in wildlife has a devastating impact on some of the world's most endangered species one of them is tigers. Tiger is one such precious animal hunted all over its range for its skin, bones and other parts, besides finding use in trophies. In fact, every part of the animal is used in one way or the other. Its bones find their way into traditional oriental medicine, though there is no scientific evidence of their efficacy. Most consumers of tiger parts are from South-East Asia (China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan). In India, tiger skins have a ready market and sell for anything between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 each.

IIn Russia Governments of some 13 countries where tigers live have agreed an action plan to try and save the enigmatic big cats from global decimation.Participants in the summit have pledged to double tiger numbers by 2022. Conservation efforts will centre around protecting habitats, tackling poaching, targeting the illegal trade in tiger parts and - crucially - sourcing the finances needed for the plan to succeed.

Unfortunately in our country India the bodies have a funding crunch who fight illegal trade. We have insufficient funding to conduct work in the illegal trade of wildlife over the internet. One can imagine Interpol’s Wildlife Crime Officer.

Unless the ongoing trade in wildlife and its derivatives is stopped, most species-faced as they are with problems of habitat loss, fragmentation and inbreeding - will be lost forever. The cheetah is a classic example, a species hunted to the dead end of extinction in India.

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