South Asia’s unique geographical expanse and topographical variation support several diverse ecosystems harbouring a rich variety of faunal and floral species; including some of the most charismatic and endangered species on Earth. Conservation of these bio-resources of global significance encounters multifarious challenges emanating from region’s poverty, population growth and many environmental changes. Poaching and trade in wildlife and their parts against our national and international laws have emerged as one of the most significant challenges in conserving biodiversity in the region. Such wildlife crime are accelerating the rate at which many of our endangered species are going extinct and at the same time threatening the survival of many other lesser known species.
Despite our efforts to curb, these crimes remain unabated; rather, flourish as a lucrative business for highly trans-national and organized criminal networks. This clearly demands more determined, collaborative and effective approaches from wildlife enforcement agencies in the region.
SAWEN is making its efforts to enhance capacity of wildlife enforcement agencies of South Asian countries and combine such capacities through better coordination for a stronger, more coordinated and more effective national and regional response to the burgeoning wildlife crime. However, our capacity and efforts remains far from enough to take on the current scale and nature of wildlife crime.
Hence, I urge all SAWEN member countries and other partners to engage more aggressively in strengthening SAWEN and fight against the crime. I also request all sectors of life; the civil society, politics, and business across the region to join hands in establishing our region as a safer place for wildlife and ultimately for humans.
Chief Enforcement Coordinator