If recent recoveries of illegal raw ivory are any indication, bio diversity reach NB forests continue to be the dreamland for the poachers and animal body parts traders. India’s being CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) signatory could not brighten the picture.
The officials in Bengal Forest Department have recovered two pieces of raw elephant tusk and one fire arm with ammunition Thursday early morning- informed Divisional Forest Officer B. Sarkar. Three persons carrying them have also been arrested. As learnt, the ivory pieces, each of around 1 kg, were samples to showcase the actual stock of two full length tusks weighting around 100 kg to the potential buyers. The arrested persons have revealed during interrogation that they remained involved into many other incidents of leopard or elephant poaching in forests in northern West Bengal.
“It is a matter of serious concern,” said Bengal Forest Minister B. Barman.
According to the wildlife conservation activists, though a signatory of CITES, India is still one of the major 26 global exporters of animal body parts to the main five trade routes.
“Going by the trend of seizure and seized items it is clear that entire NB region contributes a significant share in the illegal global market of estimated 20 Billion USD with 12% annual growth rate,” they said.
With own strategic location, northern West Bengal forests around Siliguri feature in four of those underground trade routes. According to intelligence, over 300 km stretch of NH 27 and NH 31, from Assam Bengal Border of Coochbehar District in East to Islampore of North Dinajpore Dt. at Bengal Bihar border in west via Jalpaiguri District and Siliguri, is informally known as the Siliguri Corridor. With four countries Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and Bangladesh, within 25km proximity at some places and connection with two states Bihar and Assam, the corridor is a golden rout for the traffickers to gain access to markets round the globe.