Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Hunting is still rampant in many parts of north east India. Enforcement authorities often prefer to look the other way despite blatant disregard for the law by hunters and traders. Conservationists such the authors need our support to bring about a change.
We are passionate conservationists from Tamenglong, Manipur. We would like to report the rampant trapping, hunting and sale of wildlife in Tamenglong and its neighbouring villages. We have seen monkeys, pythons, Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla — featured here) , great barbets, civets, leopard cats, Asian forest tortoises and many other species of wildlife for sale in these markets. Many of these species are on the endangered list.
The concerned authorities are turning a blind eye towards this very critical issue. We are trying to engage with the trappers and sellers to refrain from such activities, as this will ultimately affect all of us and the biodiversity of the forests. There is a lot of work to do, beginning with identifying alternative sources of income for the hunters, who are unemployed for the most part. We want the hunters to turn protectors of the forests and wildlife. The Chinese Pangolin is listed as Critically Endangered as per the IUCN Red List due to high levels of poaching for meat and scales across its range. In India, this species is legally protected, being listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (amended 2003, 2006), but the story on the ground is entirely different.
There are many things we would like to do to mitigate the decimation of wildlife in this area. We need a fully functional veterinary centre, and a temporary shelter for rescued wildlife. We also want to conduct awareness campaigns and seminars for local people, and even reach out to far away villages. However, we’ve learned from our previous experiences that the villagers actually expect some kind of compensation from us, as they have missed one day of work to be part of the event. We need a vehicle to take part in wildlife rescue operations and to reach forest areas to remove snares and traps.
All of this requires funds. Please help us in whatever way you can to protect and conserve the beautiful biodiversity of this landscape. Concerned and interested people can contact us by email.