The Heyvan Times brings you a weekly dose of news on animal affairs from across India, curated specially for animal buffs like us. Here are the top five of this week.
Operation Thunderball busted world’s largest wildlife trafficking network
Interpol, headquartered in Singapore, with police, customs agents, wildlife and forestry agencies and environmental authorities from 109 countries jointly conducted one of the largest anti-wildlife trafficking raids–Operation Thunderball during June. Nearly 1,830 growing creatures, both dead and alive, including plants and animals in whole and in part were seized. This included 23 live primates, 30 big cats, 440 elephant tusk pieces and 1200 additional pounds of ivory, five Rhino horns, more than 4,300 birds, 1,500 reptiles and nearly 1000 turtles and tortoises. Another 7,700 wildlife parts from a range of species, 74 truckloads of timber, 2,600 plants and almost 10,000 marine wildlife items were seized while being illegally trafficked across the globe. Quartz report claims that on July 10, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) announced the operation with Interpol and arrested 580 suspects and such raids will be conducted in future.
Gujarat announces Rs 350-cr worth projects to conserve Gir Lions
Ganpatsinh Vasava, minister of Forests and Tribal Welfare departments in Gujarat announced that the state government has already earmarked Rs 350 crores for conservation and protection of Gir Lions. An Economic Times report says that the minister announced this special package which will include an exclusive hospital for the big cats, centres for treatment and research and four ambulances with the state-of-art technology to treat lions immediately. Collars are being procured from Germany. The package also includes several other projects to up the conservation efforts and protect the lions in the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Another project is to monitor lions through drones. Last year, 14 lions including cubs were found dead in the eastern side of the Gir forest range. This is the only home for the Asiatic Lions in India. Gir estimates having 523 of them till 2015 out of which 200 are outside the sanctuary.
North Bengal forests install device to prevent man-elephant conflicts
June to September is the peak time when pachyderms raid paddy and maize fields in north Bengal. And living on the fringes are the communities affected both economically and physically. Koustav Choudhury and Simu Saha from Society for Nature and Animal Protection have set up 16 devices that can alert forest department officials from a radius of two-km if an elephant has entered the zone where the device is fitted. The Statesman reports that 16 such devices have been installed on an experimental basis in eight hotspots, including forest villages under the Ramsai-Kalipur of Gorumara National park area. West Bengal forest department officials plan to install eight more in villages under the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in Darjeeling district. The device can sense a jumbo 200 metres around it and a siren rings at the nearest forest beat office.
Cow viligante’s arrested for parading cow smugglers
It is a classic case of how it takes one to know one. Three Bajrang Dal activists were arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police for parading 25 cow smugglers on July 9. Indiatimes.com report says first the cow smugglers were tied up and beaten by the vigilantes in Khandwa district; a video showing the parade went viral on social media. Secondly, cops while arresting the vigilante also found that the cow transporters had no papers and hence caught as smugglers and booked under the Govansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam (prohibition of cow slaughter act) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The Madhya Pradesh government in June approved the law against cow vigilantism making it a punishable offense, says the report.
26 exoctic birds from Myanmar seized in Mizoram
In a joint operation by the Border Security Force and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, 26 exotic birds were seized while being trafficked from Myanmar to Mizoram. The Sangai Express report claims that the sleuths, acting on a tip-off, laid a trap for this on July 6 evening, when two suspected vehicles arrived at about 9 pm on the approach road from Aizawl. Eight people were arrested after they failed to furnish documents proving that the birds were being legally transported. The officials found the avians in 26 wooden boxes. The seizure is expected to be worth Rs 28 lakh. The consignment was on its way to Kerala. The exotic birds included Emu, Pigeons, White Cuckatoo (yellow crested) and Crown Head.