Saturday, May 30, 2009

WWF to create awareness against animal trophies in Gujarat

WWF to create awareness against animal trophies in Gujarat
Times of India

AHMEDABAD: The exquisite coral in your aquarium, tiger nails and beautiful ivory idols that you proudly display may land you in jail.

In fact, this is the subject of a newly-released series of posters by World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, India. Officials from Traffic, WWF's programme to prevent wildlife trade, visited the city on Friday and met senior police officials to devise an effective way to curb animal poaching.

Samir Sinha, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) official in Uttarakhand and head of Traffic programme, met state police officials and senior officials involved with detection and investigation of lion poaching cases.

"I am impressed with the way the state has investigated the Gir lion poaching cases so far. It is the first case in the country where all accused have been convicted by courts, imprisoned and slapped with fines. It was due to the dedication of Gujarat police and the use of scientific methods to collect evidence. We now present the case everywhere in the country to give other departments, an idea of the methods used," said Sinha.

He said that so far, people have taken wildlife crime casually. "We do not see it as a major offence like physical assault or even theft. However, every day, we witness a number of cases where wildlife is attacked, killed and sold for commercial purpose. We want to create awareness among unsuspecting buyers of the illegal stuff," he said. Sinha, along with his team, will be a part of awareness campaign in the state in the form of leaflets, hoardings and education of police, paramilitary and even citizens about wildlife crime.

"Gujarat is rich in bio-diversity. It's just not about lions and leopards. Thus, awareness is must," said Sinha.

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