Late last month, a regional initiative to strengthen wildlife law enforcement came into being when the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) was formally launched at an inter-governmental meeting hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
The idea is to keep an eye on illegal wildlife trade, recognised as a form of trans-national organized crime that threatens many species in the region — tigers, elephants, rhinos, medicinal plants, timber, marine species, birds and reptiles. The SAWEN secretariat will be in Nepal. It will link up authorities across the region to share good practices and resources.
Inter-governmental organizations including the CITES, Interpol, WWF and TRAFFIC met to agree on joint activities, and increase communications and fundraising. Indian environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh expressed his commitment in working together with these countries to protect natural resources from illegal pillage and plunder.
Another laudable step in South Asian conservation efforts. We will wait optimistically for this scientifically designed regional cooperation to bear fruit soon.