Protecting India’s wildlife from cybercrime: Odisha Forest Department undergoes training
Bhubaneshwar: With approximately 26 Royal Bengal Tigers Panthera tigris including the rare melanistic form, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata, Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, among several other endangered wildlife species in Simlipal Tiger Reserve, as well as in other wildlife and territorial forest divisions of the state, Odisha is undoubtedly a bright spot of biodiversity. However, due to this, it also remains a prime target for wildlife poachers, smugglers and traders who have now extended their nefarious activities on cyber space to reach out to the ever-growing internet users.
In light of this, TRAFFIC in partnership with the Odisha Forest Department, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Police Radio Training School (PRTS), Indore and WWF-India organised a training workshop on 1-2 February 2020 at the Office of the Chief Wildlife Warden, Bhubaneshwar to strengthen skills for tracking, monitoring and investigating online wildlife crime.
During the workshop 26 forest officials of different cadres, including, Divisional Forest Officers, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Range Forest Officer, Forester and Forest Guard selected from 13 forest divisions of Odhisa i.e. Keonjhar Wildlife Division, Rairangpur Forest Division, Karanjia Forest Division, Baripada Forest Division, Balasore Wildife Division, Simlipal (North) Tiger Reserve, Redhakhol Forest Division, Koraput Forest Division, Sambalpur Forest Division, Baliguda Forest Division, Nayagarh Forest Division, Sundergarh Forest Division and Kalahandi (North) Forest Division learnt new skills for cyber monitoring, and investigation tools and techniques.
The training workshop in Bhubaneshwar was imparted by experts in the field of monitoring cybercrime through sessions on intelligence, investigation, and search and seizure techniques; communication device investigation; cybercrime scene management; digital intelligence collection; wildlife forensics; telecom surveillance and Call Detail Record (CDR) analysis and IPDR – (CDR of IP address) analysis. Mr Varun Kapoor IPS, Additional Director General, Madhya Pradesh Police; Mr Malay Mahant, Sub Inspector/ Incharge Training, PRTS, Indore and Mr Afzaal Khan, Sub Inspector / Incharge Technical Cell PRTS Indore along with TRAFFIC staff led this two-day training.
Dr J.D. Patti, IFS, Deputy Director Similipal Tiger Reserve, appreciated the effort and stressed on the use of cyber patrolling for curbing online wildlife trade. He said that there is a need to strengthen our monitoring skills especially on online platforms as poachers and smugglers are also getting tech-savvy and are shifting their activities on cyberspace.
Mr Shashi Paul, IFS, Addl. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) added, “Technology is a double edge sword and one must be careful while dealing with it. It is paramount that present investigation can and must use these technologies for wildlife crime investigation. We must regularly conduct such trainings for the forest officials and over a period of time have a cadre within Odisha Forest Department who can become specialist in this field thus building an important capacity and a vertical structure in every division of the forest Department. This skill will certainly be a game changer in the field of wildlife conservation and protection”.
This training programme was fifth in the series of trainings organized by TRAFFIC in collaboration with WWF-India, NTCA and PRTS under its new programme titled ‘CyberCLAW’.
For any queries, please contact Dilpreet B. Chhabra, Senior Manager-Communications, TRAFFIC’s India office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 09899000472.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade specialist, working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC works closely with its founding organisations, IUCN and WWF. TRAFFIC in India operates as a programme division of WWF–India, the largest conservation organisation in India. More: www.traffic.org; www.trafficindia.org