Articles - “Cyberpoaching”: New threat to Wildlife Resources

“Cyberpoaching”: New threat to Wildlife Resources

Posted by: | Posted on: 18/10/13 | Comments: 0

Begal Tiger

                               Bengal Tiger, Photo Courtesy - Wikimedia


What is “Cyberpoaching”?


Poaching has been described as the illegal killing, hunting or capturing of wild animals, usually protected and preserved by the government. This criminal activity has found a new means to continue. With the excessive use of internet, wildlife hunters, all over the world, are getting involved in what is now being termed as “Cyberpoaching”. Internet hackers are extracting important information on the exact locations of endangered species of wild animals, and are selling the information to wildlife hunters from all over the world.


How does “Cyberpoaching” affect wildlife?


The illegal wildlife trade found a new life through the Internet. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) submitted a report about finding sale posting for tiger cubs on the Internet.  After this development, the wildlife-trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has spotted approximately 30 products made from tiger on websites, including pendants, bracelets and tiger-bone glue.


The reason for the trafficker’s shift towards the Internet is because it can be done quickly, hidden easily, and jurisdiction laws makes the culprit almost impossible to be caught. TRAFFIC reported items made form elephant ivory being sold under the name of “OX bone” online and about poachers taking sophisticated methods to kill animals, like drug overdose.


Wildlife-governance specialist Andrew Zakharenka said, "With increasing income and connectivity to the Internet, especially in developing countries, there is a threat of increased demand for wildlife products."


“Wildlife criminals are increasingly using technology. He sees cell phones, SIM cards, and emails involved in cases of arrested criminals time and time again”, he added.


Shivani Bhalla, National Geographic explorer and lion conservationist listed documented stories of "tech-savvy wildlife crime groups who know to enter wildlife areas and kill so many animals."


 “Cyberpoaching” in India


A recent Cyberpoaching related incident in India startled wildlife authorities. Krishnamurthy Ramesh, head of the monitoring program at Panna Tiger Reserve, in Madhya Pradesh, was informed by an email that there was an attempt to infiltrate his professional email account by someone in Pune. Location of an endangered two year old male tiger was contained in his account inbox.


The Server prevented the infiltration. According to the authorities the data is in coded form. "They couldn't even see the data—it would look like unusual numbers or symbols," Ramesh said. If someone actually tried to access the data or it was a mistake, this is not clear as of now, but still the forest department of Madhya Pradesh has initiated an enquiry.


The incident has led Indian officials to consider cyberpoaching as an imminent threat to wildlife resources in India.


Karan Saxena

Karan Saxena is a literature student, with keen interest in writing about India and the world. His write-ups give an intricate,... more»