In 2018, 388 cases of wildlife-related crimes were registered under the Wildlife Protection Act, according to a reply tabled in Parliament by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
In nearly one in every three cases —123 of the 388 — the species involved was leopards or tigers. Leopards alone accounted for over one in five cases, at 81, while 42 cases involved tigers. In between the two big cat species were scheduled birds, which accounted for 61 cases, or a little over than one in seven.
Just five species accounted for two in every three cases — 259 of 388 — with leopards (21%), scheduled birds (16%) and tigers (11%) being followed by star tortoises or turtles (10%) and deer (9%). Ten species accounted for over 90% of the cases, the other five being elephants (7%), snakes (5%), rhinos (4%), mongooses (4%) and pangolins (a little under 4%). The remaining 10% were cases that involved 10 other species, including Tockay geckos and monkeys.
Overall, the number of cases of wildlife crime has come down since 2016, when 565 were registered, and risen slightly since 2017, when 342 were registered.
The ministry said a Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up to gather intelligence about poaching and unlawful activity in wildlife trade in wild animals and animal articles. Under centrally sponsored schemes such as “Development of Wildlife Habitats, “Project Tiger” and “Project Elephant”, funds are provided to the governments of states and Union Territories, it said.
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