Context: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a wildlife smuggling syndicate with a consignment of exotic macaws which had been smuggled from Bangladesh to Kolkata.

More on the news:

  • The joint operation for the same was carried out in coordination with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Customs Department at the Kolkata airport.
  • The exotic birds in the cargo were identified as hacinth macaw, pesquet’s parrot, severe macaw, and hahn’s macaw.
  • Vulnerable area
    • West Bengal and northeast India are vulnerable to cross-border wildlife smuggling because of their proximity to the Bangladesh and Myanmar borders, and to Thailand.

Protection available for seized macaws

  • They are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), with hyacinth macaw being accorded the highest protection.
  • Illegally imported birds are confiscated under Section 111 of the Customs Act, read with the CITES provisions and the Foreign Trade Policy
    • Also, Sections 48 and 49 of the Wildlife Protection Act prohibit trade or commerce in wild animals, animal articles, or trophies. The accused can be sentenced to seven years of jail for the offense.

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)

  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country. 
  • The Bureau has its headquarters in New Delhi and five regional offices.
  • Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated 
    • To collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities
    • To disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals
    • To establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank
  • It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.


CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

  • CITES also known as the Washington Convention is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.
  • It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • CITES is one of the largest and oldest conservation and sustainable use agreements in existence. 
  • Participation is voluntary, and countries that have agreed to be bound by the Convention are known as Parties. 
  • CITES is legally binding:  it provides a framework respected by each Party, which must adopt their own domestic legislation to implement CITES at the national level.
  • Appendix I - It includes species threatened with extinction. Trade-in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances e.g. Tiger, Himalayan brown bear, elephant, and Tibetan antelope. 
  • Appendix II - It includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival e.g. Hippopotamus, bigleaf mahogany, and the gray wolf. 
  • Appendix III-A species included at the request of a country which then needs the cooperation of other countries to help prevent illegal exploitation, e.g. walrus, Hoffmann's two-toed sloth.

Image Source: TH

Source:https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dri-busts-syndicate-smuggling-exotic-macaws-from-bangladesh/article31890379.ece#:~:text=The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,on its way to Bengaluru.