Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: The Union Government's decision to re-open the Nathula border crossing point in Sikkim for trade in July this year for the first time since 1962 has brought to the fore apprehensions about wildlife traffickers using this route to China. The route is the shortest course to Lhasa from India and Nathula had been one of the important transit points between the two countries.

Now in an extensive exercise to sensitise the law enforcement agencies in Gangtok and other regions of the State to tackle wildlife crime, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) and Forest Department will conduct the first multi-discipline law enforcement training workshop in Gangtok, Sikkim, later this month.

In the sensitisation capsule, members of the enforcement agencies would be provided expert guidance on wildlife law, identification of wildlife products, confiscation, apprehending offenders, steps to strengthen prosecution, and effectively network with different agencies. A handbook on wildlife crime and the Wildlife Protection Act as ready guide will also be provided to each participant.

Ashok Kumar, WTI Vice-Chairman, said: "This workshop will provide technical expertise to enforcement agencies to check and apprehend wildlife traffickers. Earlier, wildlife seizures made by the Delhi police and other agencies confirm involvement of Tibetans in wildlife trafficking. Illegal wildlife consignments from India to China include tiger and leopard skin, bones, bear biles, otter pelts and shahtoosh wool is brought to India via border routes in Nepal and elsewhere."