According to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), four leopard skins have been seized and eight persons, who were allegedly involved in illegal wildlife trade, have been arrested, in Kashmir valley.
Also, in January 2021, animal organs including eight leopard hides, four musk deer pods and 38 bear gallbladders were found in possession of a man arrested in Anantnag.
Both these incidents point out towards poaching and calls for the need to strengthen the available means with necessary checks and balances to arrest the threat to the wildlife.
In a landmark judgment, J&K and Ladakh High Court has said that trading in endangered animals or articles made from their skin, bones or any other part was similar to dealing in noxious or pernicious trade like intoxicating drugs.
The court precisely underlined that what was destructive of the environment, forests and wild life was contrary to the directive principles of State policy.
There is a complete ban imposed on such trade due to enactment of J&K WildLife Protection Act, 1978.
It is a settled position of law that the trade which is pernicious can be totally banned without attracting Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.
The court pointed out that trading in animals close to being wiped out of existence and articles made from their bones, skins or other parts of their bodies, is a situation akin to dealing in any other noxious or pernicious trade like intoxicating drugs. The Parliament is, therefore, well within its powers to impose a ban by way of appropriate legislation on trading in wild life and their derivatives in furtherance of Article 48A like it can prohibit trade in intoxicating drugs and liquors in compliance with the mandate of Article 47.
While the law is there, there is a need to enhance measures to track, prove, and prevent wildlife crimes. There is also a need for evaluative research on interventions that have the potential to allow illicit trade and in other words keep wildlife under danger.
Without drastic action to conserve habitats, the rate of species extinction will only increase. There is a need for proactive environmental policies, the sustainable production of food and other resources and a concerted effort to protect wild animals.
If poaching is one aspect of the conservation challenge, the other side of the story is the fast encroachments that threaten to endanger animals and the environment.
There is a need to promote conservation encompassing survival of all as well as diversity of the ecosystem.