Illegal hunting of wildlife is reported from 23 states in India. Overall, 114 mammal species, including several that are endangered, are hunted in the country. Tribal communities in India have traditionally hunted for meat and trophies, but the illegal international trade in wildlife has given hunting and poaching a new dimension. This project aims to rectify the situation through strengthened enforcement measures and the sensitisation of tribal communities, especially children.
While the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, strictly prohibits the hunting of almost all wild species, the on-ground implementation of its provisions is sorely lacking. The sustained hunting and poaching of wild species has the potential to cleave vital food webs, causing knock-on effects to the wider ecological diversity. Hunting by tribal communities needs to be urgently addressed, especially with growing linkages to the illegal international wildlife trade.
The project will initiate a series of targeted interventions: (a) Training enforcement agencies to better prevent and investigate wildlife crime. (b) Educating tribal communities about the legal consequences of hunting. (c) Sensitising these communities, especially children, about the importance of specific wildlife species, and fostering a sense of community pride for the conservation of these species. (e) Empowering local individuals and groups to assist in anti-poaching activities.
By raising the conservation awareness of various stakeholders and more strictly enforcing wildlife laws, the project aims to significantly diminish the deleterious effects of hunting by tribal communities in India. The alleviation of hunting pressures will greatly improve the short- and long-term prospects of a number of endangered and critically endangered species in particular, by giving their populations the scope for recovery.