India will set up of a wildlife crime control bureau to protect wild animals and the smuggling of their skins and body parts.
"We have decided to amend the Wildlife Protection Act and form a wildlife crime control bureau to protect wild animals and bring an end to the smuggling of animal skins and body parts," said A Raja, environment and forests minister, briefing reporters after a meeting of the National Board for Wildlife at the prime minister's residence.
The board, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has been discussing setting up of a wildlife crime control bureau since last year.
It was also decided at the annual meeting that amendments to the act would be made during the monsoon session of parliament after which the bureau would be formed.
He said the bureau would work on the lines of the Narcotics Control Bureau and have powers to investigate crime related to wildlife.
"It would be a centralised authority and several other law enforcing agencies would assist it in investigations," said Raja.
"The prime job of the bureau would be to investigate crimes related to wildlife and put a stop to it inside the country and the smuggling of skins and body parts," said Namo Narayan Meena, minister of state for environment and wildlife.
He said the bureau would also collect records on the trend of wildlife crime in the country.
All state governments would be asked to provide information related to wildlife crimes in their state.
"The bureau would have independent powers to investigate cases and take action," said Meena. The intelligence agency and state police would also be asked to assist the bureau in collecting information related to the crimes. Police and forest officials would be members of the bureau, he said.