Gazette notification awaited for residents of Malnad in wildlife artefacts surrender

It was in 1973 that the central government issued a notice to individuals to surrender wildlife trophies and wildlife organs to the forest department to avoid cases under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Tiger claws which have been given an ornamental touch recovered from Mysuru forest mobile squad in Mysuru in 2022. (File photo | Express)
Tiger claws which have been given an ornamental touch recovered from Mysuru forest mobile squad in Mysuru in 2022. (File photo | Express)

MADIKERI: The residents of Malnad regions including Kodagu increasingly possess wildlife trophies that are displayed in ancestral homes. While the state has extended three months of amnesty to the residents to surrender these trophies, several shared their reluctance in fulfilling the same.

It was in 1973 that the central government issued a notice to individuals to surrender wildlife trophies and wildlife organs to the forest department to avoid cases under the Wildlife Protection Act. Again in 2003, the government extended the deadline for the surrender of the artefacts by 180 days. However, not many surrendered the artefacts then.

“Residents of Malnad regions are in possession of several wildlife trophies including deer trophies, tiger claws, deerskin and other things. Several relaxations were extended earlier to surrender these artefacts. However, despite notifications and relaxations, no one surrendered them to the government,” recalled Kalappa, a retired DCF.

However, he opined that the issue has received increased publicity in the recent past and this might urge the residents to surrender the artefacts or receive certification for the same this time.

“Earlier, the rule was not implemented strictly,” he added. Nevertheless, residents who possess such ancestral artefacts shared that they are reluctant to surrender them as the certification process is a prolonged chore requiring several documents that might not be available to them.

As sources confirmed, several residents who served in the defence and All India Services also possess these artefacts and had not applied for certification in 2003. But Madikeri DCF Bhaskar B confirmed that this would be the last chance to surrender these artefacts.

He explained that while the order has been passed in the cabinet, the gazette notification is yet to be released.

“Once the gazette notification is out, we will get a clear-cut picture of the terms for exemption. The issue is sensitive in Kodagu and we have raised this point with the concerned wildlife officers. The terms and conditions will be jotted down taking a holistic approach,” he explained. Nevertheless, he confirmed that proper awareness will be raised before the implementation of the notification.

“Awareness will be created to ensure that no wildlife possessions go unnoticed and certifications are received in cases of exemptions. However, if we come across possessions without certificates following the order’s implementation, such cases will be treated and lodged as a fresh offence under the Wildlife Protection Act,” he confirmed. 

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