The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests coordinated nationwide ‘Operation Thunder Bird’ from January 30 to February 19, 2017 to combat illegal trade of wildlife animals in the country.
- The operation was undertaken in coordination with International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
- Besides, WCCB also convened a turtle specific operation code-named as ‘Operation Save Kurma’ from December 15, 2016 to January 30, 2017.
- The operation brought about an awareness among the enforcement agencies to focus on the existing trade routes and major trade hubs in the country so as to deal with the menace of wildlife crime.
About ‘Operation Thunder Bird’
Operation Thunder Bird is the codename for Interpol’s multi-national and multi-species enforcement operation.
- It aimed to eliminate poaching of wildlife animals of India.
- WCCB seized as many as 2,524 live species of scheduled animals which included 19.2 kgs of elephant ivory, 1 tiger skin, 9 carcasses of wild animals, 1 organ pipe coral, 1 jar of snake venom, 8 leopard skins and 1 Indian Muntjac skin.
- About 71 people were arrested in a nationwide crackdown on illegal trade in wildlife.
- The operation witnessed overwhelming response from states of Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
About ‘Operation Save Kurma’
‘Operation Save Kurma’ is a turtle specific operation where over 15,000 live turtles were seized.
- As per WCCB, a total of 15,739 live turtles were recovered from 45 suspects.
About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) was constituted by the Government of India as a statutory body on 6 June 2007, by amending the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, a special Act to protect the wildlife in the country to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
- The Bureau has its headquarter in New Delhi
The main role of WCCB includes:
Collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action.
- Establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank
- Assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control
- Capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes
- Advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international results, relevant policy and laws.