India awarded for its effort to combat illegal wildlife trade
India on 30 November 2017 was awarded with the Certificate of Commendation for its exemplary enforcement action in its regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade.
The award was conferred to the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) by the Secretary General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the 69th Standing Committee meeting of CITES at Geneva, Switzerland.
India was the only recipient of the Certificate of Commendation at the esteemed meeting. The convention currently has 183 nations from across the world as its signatories.
The information was shared by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan, who stated that the award has been presented to WCCB under the Ministry for its efforts in conducting and coordinating a species specific wildlife enforcement Operation, codenamed ‘Operation Save Kurma’.
Operation Save Kurma
• It was conducted by the WCCB to combat the growing illegal trade in live turtles and its parts from India to destinations abroad.
• The operation was also aimed at inviting attention of the enforcement agencies towards such illegal trade.
• The operation was launched on 15 December 2016 and it went on till 30 January 2017.
• Under the operation, approximately 16, 000 live turtles/tortoises were seized and released back into the wild and around 55 suspects involved in the illegal trade were arrested.
• The WCCB had worked in close collaboration with regional law enforcement agencies including West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department, State Police and Forest Department, the Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh Police, Karnataka Forest and Police departments and Maharashtra and Rajasthan Forest Departments.