Ahead of the International Day of Biological Diversity celebrated on May 22, UN Environment India and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India launched an awareness campaign ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ to be displayed at major airports across the country. Actor, Producer, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and recently appointed Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate, Dia Mirza inaugurated the campaign in presence of officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India, UN Environment, UN agencies and GMR Group.
“Conservation is innate to India’s ethos. While wildlife faces threat across the globe and India’s flora and fauna’s demand continues in illegal global markets, in keeping with our stringent provisions for protection of wildlife under the Wild life (Protection) Act, 1972, efforts towards creating awareness among public at large would go a long way to help protect our wildlife,” said, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,CK Mishra
Illegal wildlife trade is driving species to the brink of extinction. A thriving industry with organized wildlife crime chains spreading across the world, in India, illegal trade in wildlife has seen a sharp rise. The campaign ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ aims at creating awareness and garnering public support for the protection and conservation of wildlife, prevention of smuggling and reduction in demand for wildlife products. The campaign also complements worldwide action on illegal trade in wildlife through UN Environment’s global campaign, Wild for Life.
“There is an urgent need for awareness, action and stringent enforcement of laws to put an end to all illegal wildlife trade threatening biodiversity and conservation in the wild. This campaign is an important step forward in creating much-needed awareness on wildlife trafficking which threatens the very survival of these species,” said Atul Bagai, Head, UN Environment India.
In the first phase of the campaign, Tiger, Pangolin, Star Tortoise and Tokay Gecko have been chosen as they are highly endangered due to illegal trading in International markets. Tiger is traded for its skin, bones and body parts; Pangolin, the most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet is trafficked for its meat and its scales are used in traditional medicines; Star Tortoise for meat and pet trade and Tokay Gecko in traditional medicine mostly into South East Asia and particularly Chinese Markets. Phase two will see more threatened species and explore other routes of trafficking.