Wildlife authorities today torched a huge pile of banned wildlife furs and skins as part of the government’s effort to stop an illegal trade that threatens to wipe out many of
Under the orders of the High Court, 8 truckloads of stockpiled pelts were burned by state officials in a public display of destruction, in the northern Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Incinerated items included skins, rugs, fur coats and gloves made from dozens of tiger, snow leopard, leopard, hill fox, leopard cats, black bear, otters and wolves. All species are protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the Jammu & Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act 1978 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The huge stock, estimated to be worth several million US dollars, came from more than 125,000 articles surrendered by furriers from the
Ashok Kumar, trustee of the Wildlife Trust of India, lit the pyre. He said: “This is a hugely significant moment. Going up in flames was the largest single agglomeration of wildlife skins anywhere in the world. Compensation will be given to those furriers who willingly surrendered their stock. It is a small price to pay to protect endangered species from the decimation of poachers.
“The job of enforcement officials throughout the region will be much easier now as any new stocks that are found will be seized immediately and the trader brought to justice. Wild species have respite from the
Chief Wildlife Warden for Jammu & Kashmir, A. K. Srivastava, said: “We have waited many years for this moment. This historic event is taking place with the support of the local community, in an open and transparent manner, for the ultimate protection of our precious wildlife.”
Kashmir has historically been the centre of the wild animal skin trade, with specimens being brought into the Valley from all parts of
The first truckload of illegal skins was burnt in