Campaign launched to check wildlife smuggling through airports

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UN Environment India and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) on Monday launched an awareness campaign for the protection of wildlife in the backdrop of rising illegal wildlife trade through airports, as per an official statement.

The campaign “Not all animals migrate by choice”, which primarily focuses on tiger, pangolin, star tortoise and Tokay gecko, will be held at 22 airports in the country over the next year.

“Illegal wildlife trade is driving species to the brink of extinction. A thriving industry with organised wildlife crime chains is spreading across the world. In India, illegal trade in wildlife has seen a sharp rise,” read the statement.

“The campaigns aim at creating awareness and garnering public support for the protection and conservation of wildlife, prevention of smuggling and reduction in demand for wildlife products,” it added.

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 while its scales are used in traditional medicines; star tortoise is illegally traded for meat and pet trade and Tokay gecko is used in traditional medicine, mostly in South East Asia and particularly in Chinese markets,” the statement said.

The second phase of the campaign will see more threatened species, exploring other routes of trafficking.