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New Delhi : Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan on December 1, 2017, said that India has been awarded with the Certificate of Commendation for its exemplary enforcement action in its regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade.

“The award was given to Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) on November 30, 2017, by the Secretary General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora at Geneva, Switzerland,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said in New Delhi, according to a PIB release.

The Environment Minister said that the award has been presented to WCCB under the Ministry for its efforts in conducting and coordinating a species specific wildlife enforcement Operation codenamed “Operation Save Kurma”. Dr Harsh Vardhan said that India is the only recipient of the Certificate of Commendation at the 69th Standing Committee meeting of CITES at Genevath He added that “Operation Save Kurma” was conducted in the country by the WCCB to combat the proliferating illegal trade in live turtles and its parts from the contry to destinations abroad.

Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that during the ‘Operation Save Kurma’ conducted from December 15, 2016, to January 30, 2017, approximately 16, 000 live turtles/tortoises were seized and released back into the wild. He said that 55 suspects involved in the illegal trade were also arrested.

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