Indian Army to get Powers to Protect Wildlife

India plans to enlist the army to help protect its threatened tiger population and other animals giving soldiers the power to arrest or even shoot poachers, wildlife officials said. The smuggling and sale of Indian tiger or leopard skin and Elephant Ivory is common across the borders and poaching of endangered animals is reportedly widespread throughout the country.

While the 1.1 million strong army is deployed in environmentally fragile border hot-spots, troops now have no powers to act against wildlife crimes. The Government was planning to amend existing legislation to give army the powers to act in border areas where smuggling and poaching is common.

“The amendments to the Wildlife Act will mean that the army will be able to arrest, detain and even open fire on poachers who evade arrest”, said an official from the National Board for Wildlife. Also added that this will give them parity with chief wildlife wardens.

As we have earlier reported, Wildlife crime (that includes buying and selling of endangered animals), currently estimated at over USD 6 billion a year, represents the Third Largest Black Market in the world, behind only illegal arms and drug smuggling.

Free eMagazine !