‘Wildlife crimes being taken seriously, criminals will not be spared at any cost’: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that trading in wildlife articles is the third largest trade in the world. The Minister said that illegal trade of animal parts and other wildlife crimes are being taken very seriously and such criminals will not be spared at any cost. Appreciating the seizure of wildlife articles in ‘Wildnet’ operations in Noida conducted yesterday evening by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Dr. Harsh Vardhan termed the operations as a timely and appreciable intervention. Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that ‘Wildnet operations’ were based on monitoring of websites.

The seized articles include 25 Hatha Jodi, 25 Siyar Singhi, 24 Sea Fan, 1 Trochus, 6 Lambis shell, 91 black cowrie, 130 white cowrie, 27 sea-shells, all protected under various Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act. Besides, more than Rs. 18 lakh, in cash, were also seized. One person has also been arrested in Noida. A case has been registered under section 9, 39, 48A, 49B and 50 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 by Dadri Range under Noida Forest Division of Uttar Pradesh.

Among the seized wildlife articles, Hatha Jodi is the dried male reproductive organ of Monitor Lizard, covered under Schedule 1 Part II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Siyar Singhi, a part of the Jackal is covered under Schedule-II Part-II of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972, Indrajal (Sea Fan) is covered under Schedule I part III, Trochus is covered under the Schedule-IV, Lambis shell and other sea shells seized are covered under the Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Such illegal trade in parts of wildlife can result in imprisonment from three to seven years and a fine of Rs. 10,000 for the first offence and imprisonment, of not less than three years extendable to seven years and a fine of Rs. 25,000 for any subsequent offence.

The Environment Minister emphasised that the operations in Noida have been carried out in continuation of earlier successful operations in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Orissa. “Such operations express Modi government’s seriousness and commitment to fight wildlife crime and these operations will be continued in future.”