Wildlife crime: A process of ecosystem breakdown

Rahul Ashem *

Artwork on Sangai (State Animal of Manipur)
Artwork on Sangai (State Animal of Manipur) :: Pix - Akoijam Khelendro

"'The Sangai plays an important part in the life cycle of Keibul Lamjao National Park. It is the indicator of Keibul Lamjao ecosystem and the maintenance of biologically diverse wildlife communities"'

In the present scenario, wildlife crime is one of the important threats to wildlife community. The crime is done mostly for meat, trophies, traditional medicines, ornaments or sometimes as pets. The term wildlife crime denotes illegal hunting, trafficking of live or dead endangered animals and poaching. It also involves the violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES), which regulates exports and imports of wildlife community.

Sangai, the only dancing deer found in the floating National Park of Keibul Lamjao is an example of being threatened by illegal activities across the State. Apart from iconic species, other species like Hog deer, Wild boar, Common otter, Indian civet, migratory birds and other reptiles found in the park are also threatened by illegal exploitation and poaching. Therefore, it is the right time to encourage people as a basis for fighting wildlife crime and curbing illegal hunting of endangered species in the protected areas.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 deals with the protection and improvement of environment in order to safeguard the forests and wildlife community of the surrounding protected areas. The act extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland which have their own wildlife acts.

The act consists of 60 Sections and VI Schedules which is divided into 8 Chapters according to their degree of protection. The act prohibits hunting of animals except with prior permission of authorized officer when the animal become dangerous to human life or property or is disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery.

No person shall hunt any wild animal specified in schedule I, II, III, IV and is punishable under law except as provided under section 11 and 12. Schedule I is the most protected and IV the least. Species listed in schedule III and IV are also protected but the penalties are much lower. Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted.

Hunting of any wild animal specified in Schedules I, II, III, and IV shall be punishable with imprisonment. The imprisonment for first time offenders is not less than 3 years (up to 7 years) and a fine of not less than Rs 10,000. For second offenders, the fine is not less than Rs 25,000 with the imprisonment remaining the same.

It is not only the hunters and poachers who are liable for punishment under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 but also those who purchase and use such products. Hunting, killing, poisoning, snaring, trapping, injuring, destroying or taking any part of the body of any such animal, or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, damaging the eggs of birds, reptiles shall be considered as offence and punishable by law under the Wildlife Protection Act.

National Green Tribunal is another protection act of protecting and conserving the wildlife society in this generation. It handles the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.

The Tribunal is another important platform concerning environmental matters and its mandate, a much wider step than earlier environmental Courts and Authorities and other such courts.

Sangai forms the umbrella species of Keibul Lamjao nature ecosystem. It is a schedule I species protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and is critically endangered category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red data and appendix 1 of CITES.

Hog deer or kharsa, a schedule III species of Cervidae family forms the indicator species in the same ecosystem. Both the herbivore species plays a crucial role in modifying the vegetative structure, nutrients modification and thereby changing the species composition not only in the plant kingdom but also in migratory birds, mammals and other small carnivores.

It also maintains the ecological pyramid of food chain as a control mechanism for both herbivores and carnivores species. Therefore, survival of large herbivore species is an important part in conserving the natural environment.

The removal of large herbivores in an ecosystem can change the relative abundance of species throughout the food chain. It also leads to trophic cascade, an ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators and involving reciprocal changes in the relative populations of predators and prey through a food chain which often results in dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling.

The absence of large mammals is a possible chance of increasing the insect's population, insect's predators, water availability, vegetation growth and a host of other ecosystem features in the surrounding environment. As a result, competition among the species in terms of sunlight, nutrients and carbon dioxide in the ecosystem services occurred, the best will survive and adapt.

The growth of vegetation is also one of the factors responsible for frequency and intensity of wildfires in the present generation. Infectious diseases are another thing with the rise of temperature. Today, the sign of degradation in ecosystem, habitat fragmentation and reckless felling of trees are creating problems in the surrounding environment.

Deforestation and over grazing of cattle is done inside the protected areas and parks. Besides, the crisis of wildlife crime is a serious issue against the welfare of endangered animals. Frequent collection of fuel wood by locals for cooking, heating and lighting, leads to degradation of the forest and constant interference disturbs the wildlife community.

The loss of all tiger population in Sariska (Rajasthan) is one such example of ecosystem breakdown due to poaching and hunting. Wild animals are the living indicators of the characteristics of their environment. Because human depends on plants and animals for all the basic components of life, it is more than a matter of convenience that they continue to exist; it is a matter of life and death.

Wildlife crime is the second biggest illegal profession in the world after narcotics. The crime disturbs the ecosystem structure by affecting the abundance species of food chain. The removal of herbivore species from an ecosystem can have an impact on the relative abundance of forest diversity and other carnivore species within a guild.

Food chain system is an important part in balancing the predator and prey that tend to balance the whole ecosystem. The role of Sangai and its co exist located in Keibul Lamjao is contributing much to the economy in the State in terms of tourism sector as well as in preserving the wilderness and providing sustainable livelihoods to the people living inside the park area.

The time has come to gather accurate information and document cases of wildlife crime in the state. Activities like studies on wildlife community, genetic variability, animal behavior, epidemiological surveys, and disease can be started with the related department. Combating wildlife crime is the only solution for saving the forest ecosystem, preservation of biodiversity, genetic and demographic variations of species for future generation.

* Rahul Ashem wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at
This article was posted on June 05, 2017.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #3: Gallery
  • Driver's Day observation : Gallery
  • HC to revive Human Rights Commission
  • Walk-in-interview at Mizoram University
  • CBI should not do interference..
  • TSA Gunpi Block installed
  • Nagaland Election: another truth of IM
  • Highlighting stand to Rajnath Singh
  • NE youths know India better than most
  • Naga Hoho determined to boycott Polls
  • Myanmar stretch used by militants identified
  • Kachai Lemon Fest @Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @ Ragailong #1 : Gallery
  • Kachai Village: An Abode of finest Lemons
  • Cry Of A Dying River...14 :: Poem
  • Conflict: A pre-requisite or stumbling block
  • How was the sun formed & emit light
  • Training & placement by Jettwings
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Rohingya Crisis: Lecture at Indonesia
  • The haunting shadows
  • Announcing poll date for Nagaland
  • Women's Polo Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Fashion Show: 'Handloom' #2 : Gallery
  • Reporting in Conflict Situation #1
  • Treatment schemes of RIMS, Lamphel
  • Home remedies for skin pigmentation
  • NE Chapter of ICSI inaugurated
  • Media credibility matter to uphold its sanctity
  • Setting down Jan 31 deadline : SC
  • Tangkhul Zingtun Longphang #1: Gallery
  • Wungramphy, Khamgonpou: eMing
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #3 : Gallery
  • Career option in Human Rights
  • Water conflicts over the Brahmaputra
  • PAC against Killing of Pravish: 17 Jan
  • Neiphiu Rio resigns from NPF
  • NPF-BJP Relationship : NPF clarifies
  • Consolidating the sporting heritage
  • Rising air and noise pollution
  • Kukis have equal right... : Neiphiu Rio
  • Rajnath reviews security in NE
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Commercial Stalls #3: Gallery
  • The joy of living :: Poem
  • Bamboo a tree or grass ?
  • SELF Workshop on Leadership & Fulfilment
  • Fight against corruption; we need Lokayukta
  • Hailing the role of drivers
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #2 :: eRang
  • Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Wakhal Seireng :: Book Review
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Importance of regular health check-ups
  • Meetei demand for ST is Constitutional.. #2
  • Weapon Display organized at Moreh
  • Ex-Servicemen Rally organized
  • AR helps Orphanage & Old Age Home
  • Search of comprehensive culture & identity
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Gas Today :: Android App
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • GNRC media fellowship announced
  • The Meiteis- Festival & celebration maniacs
  • How to make bridal mehndi long lasting
  • Governor's attention drawn to RIMS
  • Scientist develops prototype of electric car
  • Stereotypes about NE make people living..
  • Light Show at Loktak Lake #5 : Gallery
  • Candlelight vigil for Pravish : Gallery
  • Imbroglio of ethnic identity of Ranglong
  • Foundation For Excellence scholarship
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Mail spoofing- Trickery by deception
  • Trial by fire
  • Call for solution before election
  • Villagers along Myanmar border get pass
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Art and Artist, A Creative Space
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #2 : Gallery
  • Ode to Thy Mellow Light :: Poem
  • Xmas with Meitei eche at Phaijol
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • IMC , now another hurdle to traffic mgmt
  • Setting aside two days for the people
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #5 : Gallery
  • Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Bananas: Beauty's best friend
  • DPC for Follower at Manipur Police
  • Job Openings at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • The lost treasure
  • Nagas' Interests : Stand of NPF MSU
  • Nagaland polls on schedule: HM
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Manihar : Natyabhusan(Leela)
  • World Tourism Day #3: Gallery
  • Responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Phishing vs Vishing: The Verbal Challenge
  • BNHS Bi-monthly Program for Jan-Feb
  • Managing weight for preventing diabetes
  • Making democracy peoples' participatory
  • Progressing from media to SC
  • Manipur to set up modern food lab
  • Gaan Ngai @ Kakhulong Khun: Gallery
  • A trip to Moreh #2 : Gallery
  • How long catchy slogans keep hopes alive
  • Recycling of hospital waste-water
  • I am sometime or somewhere : Poem
  • Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD
  • Film "Legacy Of King Narak" awarded
  • Of PM and our CM
  • Patronising the killing machines ?
  • Deferment of polls unlikely: Ravi
  • PM may visit Manipur in March
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #2: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #2: Gallery
  • Transform Colleges into Innovation Centres
  • New Delhi: World Book Fair 2018 :: Review
  • Cry Of A Dying River...12 :: Poem
  • Workshop on National Pension for NE
  • Law enforcers action - Well & good
  • Final pact yet to see light of day
  • Cold wave hits Manipur
  • Take out the cymbals, Manoharsai to stay
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • MaiOn - Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Is Global Warming Natural or Anthropogenic
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei: Legendary hero
  • Common Education System rally organized
  • DAMMS launched 2018 calendar
  • Chorus for 'Solution Not Election'
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • I was born healthy, I wanna die healthy
  • Practice peace & change the life
  • TSA Moreh Block installed
  • Cycle Rally: common education system
  • Ethics, medical profession & soaring fees
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Meira rally for Pravish : Gallery
  • Accelerate momentum to endTB for SDGs
  • The call that can't be turned down
  • Live@MDU: New act with same old vibes
  • 1st Centre of Excellence- Electronics Skill
  • LED Lights installed by Loktak Station
  • NE tragedy: Policy failures & influx
  • Angaoba - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Result: Manipur Sangai Intl Digital salon
  • Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1
  • Career @ events and celebration
  • Night nourishing
  • Indo-Nepal Friendship: 25 yrs of Don Bosco
  • Understanding the indices of life
  • Poppy cultivation & drug cartels
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #1: Gallery
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • The creation of the universe, matter...
  • Mumbai: The city of dreams
  • Let this new year kill your new fears
  • Asian Waterbird Census: Count waterbirds
  • Looking for a better inclusive alternative
  • Coaching & commercialisation of education
  • New Year picnic @ Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Despite Stolen Dreams :: Book Rvw
  • Handloom Training @Hojai : Gallery
  • The Perfect timing
  • IGAR (south) meets Chief Minister
  • Communique from Neiphiu Rio on NDPP
  • Discussion on 'Rohingyas' at Delhi
  • In the process of making change- Manipur
  • Looking ahead from vantage point 2017
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #1: Gallery
  • World Tourism Day #2: Gallery
  • Immediate Manipur
  • Easter Peace :: Poem
  • You are what you eat
  • Goals for Girls: Leadership Summit @Delhi
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • LUCIFER-X released debut EP
  • ..on the ocean of despondence :: Poem
  • Happy new year to State lovers
  • New year, new me: Re-designing self
  • Quiz Competition & Career Awareness
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Gaan Ngai : Zeliangrong festival :: Flash
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @Mao #4: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai Festival of Zelianglong
  • Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018
  • Cry of a dying river- 11 :: Poem
  • Free Heart OPD & Echocardiogram
  • Peoples' mandate: what next?
  • Understanding Manipur and its history
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar Border) #2: Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Parlimentary : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Why the Ngamu Fish ?
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Lourembam Bedabati : Sangeetbhusan
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #3 : Gallery
  • List of RIST popular talks during 2014-2017
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #2 : Gallery
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Pui Thangamliu #2 :: eRang
  • Christmas Carol @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #2 : Gallery
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Nupilal Ningsing Lamjen : Gallery
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic