Project Description

Wildlife SOS works to curb the illegal trade and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products – birds, mammals and reptiles, along with pelts, bones and other body parts harvested from poached animals. Wildlife SOS’ anti-poaching squad, Forest Watch, consists of a complex network of informants gathering critical information on poachers and criminals involved in the illegal wildlife trade. Forest Watch has assisted the forest department, the police department and law enforcement agencies to crack down on traffickers and smugglers, recover animal skins, body parts, ivory and sometimes live animals from poachers, and even provide legal assistance where required. 

An estimated $8 to $10 billion is generated annually by wildlife trafficking and illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products. The scale of these crimes on the black market is second only to narcotics. A large quantity and variety of wildlife products are smuggled from India to international markets. These include live animals such as birds and reptiles, along with skins, bones and other body parts from poached animals. Historically, sloth bear cubs were poached from the wild for use in the ‘dancing’ bear trade within India, but with the eradication of the ‘Dancing Bear’ practice there was a marked reduction in bear poaching as per statistics. Wildlife SOS rescued 72 Sloth Bear Cubs before they could be traded around over a period of 10 years. We have recovered animal skins and ivory from poachers and traders in numerous Indian states as well.

Our grassroots-level training programs and workshops held in states like Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir & Karnataka help with capacity-building and target wildlife crime prevention in the field. Flagship species like tigers, leopards and Sloth Bears require intensive protection on the ground. We conduct training programs and workshops to train law enforcement officers at the grass roots level to help build capacity in the front line through strategic staffing of forest departments and enforcement agencies.

We extend gratitude to our partners, One Voice Association (France) and Hauser Bears (UK) for their invaluable support in running this dedicated anti-poaching unit.

Objective: Forest Watch assists the forest department, the police department and law enforcement agencies to crack down on traffickers and smugglers, recover animal skins, body parts, ivory and sometimes live animals from poachers, and even provide legal assistance where required. We offer further assistance by conducting grassroots-level training workshops focusing on capacity building and wildlife crime prevention in the field. 

Scope: Regulating or mitigating cases of wildlife trafficking and providing legal help where needed.

Location/Region: Pan-India.

Milestones: 

  • A large number of sloth bears under our care have been rescued via the efforts of our anti-poaching unit, including five sloth bears that were seized from the Indo-Nepal border in 2019. Repatriation of a dancing bear that was smuggled across the Indo-Nepal border.
  • Infamous tiger poacher Bhima Bawariya caught with the help of ‘Forest Watch’.
  • Major snake seizures from snake charmers every Shravan season.
  • Every year, a large number of birds like the Horned Owl, are rescued with intel from our anti-poaching unit, or by the team themselves, from being sacrificed in dark magic rituals.

Timeline:

  • 1995 establishment of the anti-poaching unit.

Project needs:

  • Field kits for the staff – sleeping bags, torches, binoculars, tents etc
  • Support kits for local informants – boots, socks, flash lights etc.
  •  Logistic support – vehicles, fuel etc.
  • Equipment – walkie-talkies, burner phones etc.
  • Legal support.
  • Seasonal clothing and proper gear for intensive work throughout the year.
  • First aid Kits.
  • Medical equipment and support kits for medical emergencies.
  • Technical support.

Other collaborating groups: State forest departments.

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Hotline Number

Delhi NCT Region +91-9871963535
Agra Region (UP) +91-9917109666
Vadodra Region +91-9825011117

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