Between 2018 and 2020 about 2054 cases were registered for killing or illegal trafficking of wild animals in India. In the three years about 3836 accused were arrested for the crime. The number of cases registered in the year 2018 was 648 and 1099 persons were arrested, followed by 805 cases and 1506 arrests in 2019 and 601 cases and 1231 arrests in 2020. The data was made available on the basis of cases registered by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and State Forest and Police Authorities in the past three years.
The details were made public by Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change in response to a question in the Lok Sabha by BJP MP G.M. Siddeshwar. The reply on November 29 also points out that Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has been created for control of wildlife crime at the Central Government level which work in close coordination with State forest department and other law enforcement agencies.
In response to another question on December 6 by DMK MP K. Shanmuga Sundaram, the Ministry informed that WCCB has conducted a number of species-specific enforcement operations with coordination of State Enforcement Agencies
The WCCB had launched operation “Save Kurma” from to 15th December 2016 to 30th January 2017 to focus on the poaching, transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises.The operation resulted in seizure of more than 15,912 live turtles and the arrest of 55 suspects.
Another operation “Operation Turtshield- I” from 1st December 2019 to 31st January 2020 and Operation Turtshield-II” (1st December 2020 to 28th February 2021) was taken up to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles from resulting in the seizure of 4,601 live/dead turtles and arrest of 45 wildlife accused in the 1st operation while 59 accused were arrested in the 2nd operation which led to the recovery of 11,771 live Turtles/Tortoises and 45 kilograms of Turtle Calipee.
The Ministry informed Parliament that WCCB conducted Operation “Lesknow” (1st August 2017 to 31st Aug 2017), “Lesknow-II” (1st September 2018 to 30th September 2018) and Operation “Lesknow-III” (1st September, 2019 to 30th September 2019) to gain attention of enforcement agencies towards the illegal wildlife trade in lesser-known species of wildlife. About 130 accused were arrested while 74 cases of trade of lesser-known species were detected.
WCCB’s “Operation Clean Art” in October 2019 to drag attention of enforcement agencies towards illegal wildlife trade in Mongoose hair brushes resulted in the arrest of 43 wildlife offenders and seizure of 54,352 Mongoose hair brushes and 113 Kgs of raw Mongoose hair.
Another “Operation Softgold” from 1st October, 2018 to 31st March, 2019 to tackle Shahtoosh Shawl (made from Chiru wool) illegal trade and to spread awareness among the weavers and traders engaged in this trade. During the operation, 350 Shawls were found.
The agency also conducted “Operation Birbil” to curb illegal trade in wild cat and wild bird species (1st Nov 2017 to 30th Nov 2017) resulting in 23 cases being detected during the operation out of which 9 cases involved seizure of different bird species .
“Operation Wildnet” (1st May 2017 to 30th June 2017), “Operation Wildnet-II” (1st November to 30th November, 2019), “Operation Wildnet-III” (1st July to 30th September, 2020) and “Operation Wildnet-IV” (1st August to 30th September, 2021) were aimed to draw the attention of the enforcement agencies within the country to focus their attention on the ever increasing illegal wildlife trade over internet using social media platforms.
The other operations include “Operation Freefly” on illegal trade of live birds and “Operation Wetmark” to ensure prohibition of sale of meat of wild animals in wet markets across the country.