Forest Department on the tusks of a dilemma - The New Indian Express

Forest Department on the tusks of a dilemma

Published: 23rd August 2013 11:36 AM

Last Updated: 23rd August 2013 11:36 AM

Ivory from elephants, which is theoretically of zero value after the trade was banned internationally, has piled up at various offices of the Forest Department, raising serious concerns regarding its safekeep.

Though the tusks are being stored in strong rooms, officials are, in effect, giving protection to articles which do not have any value in the legal market.

Instances of ivory theft being reported across the state are also worrying the officials.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden V Gopinath said they would recommend the government to burn wildlife articles, including ivory. At the international level, ivory that was kept illegally after the trade ban and seized by governmental agencies has been burned.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Om Prakesh Kaler said the Centre had issued notifications in 1994 and 2005 to destroy wildlife articles under the government’s possession.

A final decision in this regard has to be taken by the state government, he said.

After the ban came into effect in 1980, several cases were registered by the Forest Department in connection with the sale and illegal possession of ivory.

Materials confiscated by the Forest officials in wildlife cases are returned for safekeep in strong rooms once a court pronounces its verdict.

At present, the owners of captive elephants having ownership certificate can keep the tusk after its death.

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