Wildlife Forensics is with concerned providing scientific evidence and investigations into a crime against wildlife, illegally traded wildlife products, individual identity, and age of the samples.
- Poaching- illegal hunting and capturing of wild animals.
- Trapping of protected species for illegal trade.
- Illegal shooting and poisoning of bird and animal species.
- Killing marine species.
- Wildlife trafficking.
Deer antler theft has increased over the past 40 years. There are some reasons for deer antler theft. Bodybuilders and athletes seeking to improve their strength and stamina have grown more and more accustomed to using deer antler supplements, more specifically deer velvet extracts and powders. Historically, they’ve been used to encourage youthfulness, fertility, blood pressure, and more. There is little proof that they can improve human athletic performance. The bone and cartilage in newly developed antlers of deer that have not yet calcified, or hardened, are covered in velvet, which is a soft, fuzzy, protective hair.
Figure 1 - Deer
Young, uncalcified deer or elk antlers are surgically removed to provide antler velvet supplements. Before the velvet antlers are removed, the animals are put to sleep using anaesthesia. The antler bone’s velvet is then removed, dried, ground into a fine powder, and transformed into a supplement. Sometimes the powder is offered in bulk or as capsules. Deer antler powder is combined with an extract solution to create deer antler extracts and sprays.
Blackbuck Deer Poaching:
Around 80,000 blackbucks were present in the nation in 1947, but by 1964, that number had decreased to 8,000. They were frequently hunted by specially trained Asiatic cheetahs up until the time of independence, although India’s passion for blackbuck hunting persisted after the fall of the Empire. Due to the alarming decline in the blackbuck population, Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 forbade the hunting of animals. They are on the PETA list of extremely vulnerable species The blackbuck poaching case is trending highest in Madhya Pradesh. The majority of blackbuck kills occur in MP, followed by Karnataka and UP. According to the Wildlife Control Bureau, 139 endangered blackbucks were killed in India between 2008 and 2018. Blackbuck deer are known for their soft coats and twisted horns.
Figure 2 - Blackbuck Deer
Manhunts, Encounters, and Blackbuck Poaching: What Took Place in MP’s Guna 72+ hours
Three police officers and one poacher were slain out there in the street nocturnal battles between MP police and hunters after a tip-off, the Madhya Pradesh Police engaged a group of poachers in the Aron Forest area of the Guna district on the intervening nights of May 13 and 14. Three police policemen were slain in the ensuing gunfight, an alleged poacher was also murdered in the event.
At the scene of the initial encounter, police found several blackbuck’s bodies as well as the body of a peacock. When Shahzad Khan allegedly opened fire on the police on May 14 while trying to flee, they killed him in a second encounter. According to the local police, carcasses of at least four blackbucks and a peacock were recovered during the confrontation. The 'poachers' had allegedly hunted the animals to serve their meat at a wedding.
Salman Khan Blackbuck Poaching Case
Salman Khan is detained on October 12, 1998, in relation to the hunting of endangered deer species. Bail was ultimately granted to the actor. On April 10, 2006, Salman Khan was found guilty by a trial court of violating the Wildlife Protection Act. The Bollywood actor received a Rs 25,000 fine and a five-year jail term.
The most prevalent deer species in Indian woodlands is the spotted deer or chital. It weighs about 187 pounds, is about 35 inches tall, and has a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. The deer has a white underside and a Rufus coat that is flecked with white patches. Its approximately 3-foot-long, three-pronged antlers are twisted and shed annually. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has revised the deer’s status. It is regarded as a critically endangered species.
Figure 3 - Spotted Deer
The timid, non-threatening pangolin is becoming more well-known since it is thought to be the most trafficked non-human mammal in the world. Tens of thousands pangolins are murdered illegally each year in China and Vietnam for their meat and scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Pangolins come in eight different species. The IUCN lists the four pangolin species found in Asia (Chinese, Indian, and Philippine pangolins) as critically endangered. The species that are classified as vulnerable. All species are experiencing dwindling populations due to ground pangolin, giant pangolin, white-bellied, and black-bellied pangolin are the four African to illicit trafficking. The 186 nations that are a part of the CITES, or Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the treaty that governs the trade in wildlife, 2016 voted to ban the commercial trade in pangolins. Pangolins live alone and are most active at night. The majority of animals inhabit the ground, but some—like the black-bellied pangolin—can also climb.
Figure 4 - Pangolin
They can be as big as a large housecat or as long as four feet. They are known as “scaly anteaters” because they are primarily covered in keratin scales, which are the same material as human fingernails. They may discharge a foul liquid from a gland at the base of their tails as a protection strategy in addition to curling up into a ball like an armadillo when threatened. The same substance that makes up fingernails, hair, and horn also make up pangolin scales: keratin. While pangolin scales and rhino horn have no known medical benefits, traditional Chinese medicine uses them to treat conditions ranging from arthritis to breastfeeding problems. Usually, the scales are dried and processed into a powder that can be made into a tablet. For a long time, poachers and traffickers focused mostly on Asian species. In April 2019, Singapore made two historic captures of pangolin scales from an estimated 72,000 pangolins arriving from Nigeria, a total of 14.2 tonnes and 14 tonnes, respectively.
The 2019 new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread rapidly over the world. To stop the transmission of COVID-19, it is essential to look into probable intermediate hosts for SARS-CoV-2. As a result, we re-examined information that was previously published about lung samples from pangolins in which SARS-CoV-2 was found by Liu et al.
• At the whole-genome level, Pangolin-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are 91.02% identical.
• After RaTG13, Pangolin- CoV is SARS-closest CoV-2’s relative.
• The RBD of Pangolin-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 share five essential amino acids.
• Only SARS-CoV-2 has a furin protease -possible cleavage site.
Humans hunted pangolins for their personal uses so pangolins take revenge against humans by giving covid-19.
Sea Cucumber Illegal Trade:
In Deep Waters: India’s Sea Cucumbers in Illegal Wildlife Trade, it was discovered that from 2010 to 2021, at least 101.40 tonnes and 6,976 sea cucumbers were traded illegally in India. It was made public in advance of World Fisheries Day on November 21, 2022, which emphasizes the significance of maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems and the need for sustainable fisheries stocks. The study examined the causes of the unsustainable sea cucumber trade and discovered that the easy harvesting and inexpensive drying methods, in addition to the demand for sea cucumbers in East Asian and Southeast Asian markets, are having a negative impact on the species and its survival in India. The top three countries for sea cucumbers exported from India were Sri Lanka, China, and Southeast Asia, according to seizure data.
Figure 5 - Sea Cucumber
Uses of sea cucumber
As they ingest organic debris that is decomposing and transform it into recyclable nutrients for other marine species, sea cucumbers are essential to the health of the marine ecosystem. Moreover, sea cucumbers’ eating and excretion raise the alkalinity of salt water, reducing the acidification of the ocean. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, of 1972 forbids the collection, trading, or use in any way of the 200 species of sea cucumbers that can be found in India. Holothuria nobilis, one sea cucumber species found in Indian waters, are also listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which has been in effect since 2020 and governs their international trade. There are lots of wildlife crimes happening against animals. Elephants are hunted for their trunks; rhinos are hunted for their horns; snake skins; leopard claws; and many more.
There are lots of wildlife crimes happening against animals. Elephants are hunted for their trunks; rhinos are hunted for their horns; snake skins; leopard claws; and many more.
Wildlife Management using Geographic information system (GIS):
It is possible to locate wildlife habitats using GIS. Wildlife habitat inventories are crucial resources for researchers, policymakers, and land managers. By employing information on the terrain, types of plants, and other ecological aspects, GIS can be utilized as a mapping tool to create an inventory of wildlife habitats. This information is helpful in identifying regions that should be protected from development or other types of human disturbance or areas that are cause for concern.
Wildlife GPS Tracking:
When an animal is in need, GPS tracking devices allow for the remote animal location with the aid of GPS tracking collars. The tracking devices can offer the animal’s precise worldwide satellite position and provide location updates at predetermined intervals using the Global Positioning System, or GPS. The logging of locations allows for later downloads in a different manner. Many rare and endangered species can be found in national parks, which serve to safeguard them from poaching and hunting. For instance, some tiger species and panda species are threatened species, and it is crucial to keep these creatures safe, which is why GPS Tracking devices are required to monitor their whereabouts. If any of these threatened species are hurt or harmed, we can find them and provide prompt medical attention.
Solar-powered Surveillance Cameras:
Figure 6 - Solar Powered Surveillance Camera
Extremely professional wireless outdoor surveillance system with an A-grade security camera, longer-lasting lithium battery, and premium solar panel. It is wireless, so it is not disturbed by birds and some animals.
Ways to Prevent Animals from Arafficking:
A Forensic expert can take on more responsibility for monitoring the animal’s activities. Solar security is beneficial in monitoring activities. Forest officers use these technologies to stop trespassers and thieves. Today, a lot of animals are hunted by humans. So, the government takes responsibility for fixing these devices in forests and monitoring them every day.
Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species
CMS is also known as Bonn Convention. It was formed in 1979. It came into effect in 1983. The main purpose of CMS is to conserve terrestrial, marine, and avian migratory species. CMS takes international action to stop the illegal killing of birds stepped up at UN wildlife conference
Wild animals come into villages because of the loss of their habitat due to deforestation and the destruction of forests. Deer is the primary source of food for all predators. As prey animals decrease in population, predators will also suffer. Due to the extinction of species, food chains are also affected. Due to fewer food sources in the forest, predators will come to our villages. Nowadays, we can hear about a lot of cases where animals come to villages and eat the crops or come to villages and kill a man. These types of cases are increasing day by day. This is not the animal’s fault. They don’t have food in their own yard. Humans occupied their lands. Construct buildings in those places. Make farming lands. So, they enter our villages. So, we have the right to protect their food from extinction.
Learning at SIFS India
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Note - The figures and images used in this blog are only for educational purposes.