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Important Institution

TRAFFIC

  • 20 Aug 2019
  • 5 min read
  • The TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, is a leading non-governmental organisation working on wildlife trade in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
  • It is a joint program of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • It was established in 1976 and has developed into a global network, research-driven and action-oriented, committed to delivering innovative and practical conservation solutions.
  • Headquarters: Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • It aims to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
  • Illegal wildlife trade is one of the main reasons that many species are endangered.
    • For example, rhino poaching to fuel to demand for the illegal rhino horn trade reached an all-time high in 2011, with 448 rhinos poached in South Africa alone.
    • This could unravel years of conservation success with African rhinos.

Governance

  • The TRAFFIC is governed by the TRAFFIC Committee, a steering group composed of members of TRAFFIC's partner organizations, WWF and IUCN.
  • TRAFFIC also works in close co-operation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Its staff includes experts from a plethora of backgrounds: biologists, conservationists, academics, researchers, communicators or investigators, etc.

Functions

  • Since its establishment, it has helped in the evolution of the international wildlife trade treaties.
  • It focuses on leveraging resources, expertise and awareness of the latest globally urgent species trade issues such as tiger parts, elephant ivory and rhino horn.
  • Large scale commercial trade in commodities like timber and fisheries products are also addressed and linked to work on developing rapid results and policy improvements.

TRAFFIC and India

  • TRAFFIC operates as a Programme Division of WWF-India, based in New Delhi since 1991.
  • It has since worked closely with the National and the State Governments and various agencies to help study, monitor and influence action to curb illegal wildlife trade.
  • Bridging the gap in effective wildlife law enforcement in India through capacity building programmes:
  • Under this programme, TRAFFIC provides training and inputs to a diverse group of officials working on wildlife enforcement and other related issues.
  • Conducting research and providing analysis on wildlife trade and its trends:
  • TRAFFIC India’s on-going projects include study on Leopard and Tiger poaching and trade in India, peacock feather trade, owl trade, dynamics of hunting community, trade in medicinal plants, bird trade and more.
  • Awareness generation:
    • “Don’t Buy Trouble” is one of TRAFFIC India’s first consumer awareness campaign that advises tourists to be careful of what they buy as souvenirs during their travels.
      • The campaign has been running successfully since 2008 at airports, Tiger reserves, national parks, wildlife resorts/hotels, travel agencies, schools, colleges and other prominent locations.
  • TRAFFIC’s latest campaign is the WANTED ALIVE series on the four Asian big cats- Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard—all of them threatened by illegal trade in their body parts.
  • Encouraging international collaborations to fight wildlife crime:
    • TRAFFIC played a key role in bringing together the South Asian countries to form the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).
      • SAWEN was formally established at an inter-governmental meeting hosted in Paro (a town in Bhutan) by the Royal Government of Bhutan, in January 2011.
      • The main aim of this initiative is to have the countries collaborate and cooperate to fight wildlife crime in the region.
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