Written By: Samrudhi Patil, First Year, Fergusson College
TRAFFIC is a non-governmental organization working with the aim of preserving wildlife and plants in biodiversity. It is an international organization that came to India in the year 1991. It is research-driven and action-oriented, which finds a solution for conservation as per the updated information. It has an alliance with the World Wide Fund (WWF) for nature and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Illegal trade of Mongoose hair, Snake skin, Rhino horn, Tiger and Leopard claws, bones, skin, whiskers, Elephant tusks, Deer antlers, Shahtoosh shawl, Turtle shells, Musk pods, Bear bile, medicinal plants, timber and caged birds such as parakeets, mynas, munias, etc. had widely spread around the globe. There was less demand for these in the nation but outside it is in great demand and earns good money. Due to this, there was an increased killing of animals and cutting of the respective trees for the same. There are laws, of course, to punish those who hunt for the purpose of trade or sport but those laws are weakly implemented. The main aim of this organization is to ensure that the trade of animals and wild plants does not become a threat to conserving nature. It works with the State and National agencies to curb the hunting of wildlife and influence action against those who illegally trade against animals and plants thus, bringing about sustainable development amongst the wildlife.
Priority Species is a program where TRAFFIC works along with other organizations, local communities, NGOs, and government agencies to conserve the important species of wildlife. The initiative started with the Tiger Conservation Program (TCP) which later diversified into various projects targeting Tigers, Asian Elephant and Rhino, Nilgiri Tahr, Red Panda, and Snow Leopard. Currently, WWF-India is focusing on species conservation through field-level activities in different landscapes that are aimed at conserving a particular species. This program focuses on various wildlife-threatening activities like poaching, human-wildlife conflict, and trade in wild animals’ parts, habitat destruction, and legal support.
TRAFFIC believes that due to the increasing demand for men, natural resources are getting utilized more than they should. Reducing Footprint is one such initiative wherein the organization works to make the most of the available resources and see to it that resources are not wasted. It works to generate awareness about clean and renewable resources of energy and also take care that chronic power shortages aren’t caused. It has developed some of the most innovative pathways for sustainable water resources and energy management in the face of climate change. It also helps in the sector of farming and agriculture by engaging with businesses and promoting sustainable sourcing of agricultural raw materials. It helps in sustainable businesses as well by creating a balance between production and consumption. It further goes on to reduce the country’s footprint by considering key developments and environmental issues that have an impact on the overall national and global footprint. It also works to promote sustainable fishery and helps in preventing stocks from depleting and mitigating the various adverse effects on the environment.
TRAFFIC along with the conservation of wildlife has some other tasks lined up. Like, it trains sniffer dogs for the purpose of detecting crime and prevention of the same. It has trained around 88 dog squads to date. It also recycles old materials to make new calendars, diaries, and jute bags which will reduce environmental depletion. One can buy these from their website. They sell books, mugs, t-shirts so as to promote wildlife and nature.
Biodiversity in plants and animals boost ecosystem where every living organism, no matter how small it might be, has some role to play in the environment. If that species is lost from the ecosystem, it becomes hard to sustain life. Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability in all life forms. Also, healthy ecosystems can withstand disasters a lot better than weak ecosystems.
TRAFFIC has been working for the same reason – to conserve biodiversity and prevent the extinction of animals before they vanish from the ecosystem. TRAFFIC has a lot of programs and one can volunteer to them if they wish to bring a change in the environment. There are programs organized by TRAFFIC where you can participate and contribute something to nature. One can donate funds to the organization. If you own a corporate business, you can collaborate with TRAFFIC to create a lasting conservation impact.
TRAFFIC has managed to create some awareness among the people regarding the current situation of wildlife. It is up to us now – should we sit quietly and do nothing about it, or should we wake up before it is too late?