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Wildlife trade: India helps foresters fight back against cyber crime

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New Delhi, Jan 24: Wildlife cyber crime has emerged as a huge challenge for wildlife law enforcers today as poachers and wildlife traders are using modern communication mediums for promoting their illegal business. The growing networks of poachers, traders, and consumers operating on digital channels is presenting a growing challenge to law enforcement. Until recently, agencies tasked with detecting wildlife cybercrime in India have employed traditional monitoring protocols, with varying degrees of success.

Wildlife trade: India helps foresters fight back against cyber crime

The demand for wildlife commodities on social media and e-commerce platforms is contributing to a surge in poaching and illegal wildlife trade. TRAFFIC and WWF are spearheading efforts to counter this, in part through understanding and devising effective methods to monitor illegal activity on virtual markets.

In December, a first-of-its kind training on cyber crime for forest officials to help them intercept online activities of trade of wild animals and their body parts was conducted by experts in monitoring cybercrime.

Topics discussed

Topics included sessions on intelligence, investigation, and search and seizure techniques; communication device investigation; social media investigation; cybercrime scene management; digital intelligence collection; wildlife forensics; telecom surveillance and CDR analysis and IPDR - (CDR of IP address) analysis.

Commonly traded protected wildlife species on digital channels in India include Red Sand Boa; pangolin; turtles and tortoises; Tokay Geckos; parakeets and owls; corals and shells; timber species; cobra venom; monitor lizards' parts and derivatives among other wildlife.

One cyber crime committed every 10 minutes

Varun Kapoor, Additional Director General, Madhya Pradesh said, "With consumers moving on to using virtual markets for their day to day requirements, the level of cybercrime has increased.

Reports indicate that there is almost one cybercrime committed every 10 minutes in India. Wildlife cybercrime is burgeoning and if left unaddressed can have devastating impact on India's wildlife. It is our mission to provide adequate knowledge and skills to the officials of these workshop on dealing with various aspects of wildlife cybercrime".

Commonly traded wildlife species online

Commonly traded protected wildlife species on digital channels in India include Red Sand Boa; pangolin; turtles and tortoises; Tokay Geckos; parakeets and owls; corals and shells; timber species; cobra venom; monitor lizards' parts and derivatives among other wildlife.

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