Kerala Considers Requests from Indian Army for Wildlife Trophies
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Kerala’s Consideration of Army’s Requests for Wildlife Trophies
The State of Kerala is actively considering requests from two Indian Army establishments to obtain elephant tusks and deer horns for safe custody. The Pangode Military Station, part of the 2nd Battalion of Madras Regiment, and Grenadiers RC have approached the State government with specific requests. While the Grenadiers RC have sought 10 pairs each of elephant tusks, deer horns, and mount/horn, the Madras Regiment has requested three pairs each of elephant tusks and deer antlers. These wildlife trophies are defined under the Act and are currently stored in the strongrooms of the State Forest department.
State Government’s Response
A.K Saseendran, State Forest Minister, mentioned to The Hindu that the government may take a lenient view on the requests from the defense establishments. The trophies may be released under certain conditions. However, wildlife experts have highlighted that the request for trophies comes at a time when the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is promoting the incineration of trophies. The Ministry has written to all State Forest departments, stating that the Act does not encourage the display of wildlife trophies, including elephant tusks.
Conditions for Release
Despite the request, the government may release the trophies to the defense establishments after imposing conditions. These conditions include refraining from public display, modification, or transfer of the trophies. The Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) or an authorized officer may inspect the trophies at any time. If the situation demands the destruction of trophies, the CWW should be informed, and their instructions should be followed. The government has also indicated that it may withdraw the trophies if any of the conditions imposed for their release are violated.
This move has garnered mixed opinions from experts. While the defense establishments have a legitimate need for these trophies, it is essential to consider the overall conservation efforts and the message sent by displaying such trophies. The Union Ministry’s push for incineration, along with the Act’s provisions, raises concerns about the appropriateness of releasing wildlife trophies.
The release of wildlife trophies, including ivory and antlers, should be carefully considered due to their environmental impact. It is crucial to ensure that these actions align with broader conservation efforts and the protection of endangered species.
Union Ministry’s Position
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has actively promoted the incineration of wildlife trophies. This stance aims to discourage the display and possession of such trophies and emphasizes the need for conservation and protection of wildlife.
As Kerala considers the requests from the Indian Army establishments, the balance between legitimate needs and conservation efforts must be carefully maintained. Ultimately, the decision should prioritize the long-term conservation of wildlife and the protection of endangered species.
In conclusion, Kerala’s careful consideration of these requests reflects the delicate balance between honoring legitimate needs and the broader conservation efforts to protect wildlife. Finding a resolution that aligns with both needs will be crucial to maintaining environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation.