Experts urge govt for stricter implementation of ban on wildlife hunting, trade

Aditi Gupta

New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) The death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala is a wake up call to protect animals from human cruelty and violence, wildlife experts have said and stressed on ensuring that wild animals do not suffer such acts of barbarism again.

On World Environment Day on Friday, the experts also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support the global call for wildlife trade ban at the G20 summit.

They said the nation is outraged by the killing of pregnant elephant at Palakkad in Kerala with a firecracker-filled pineapple recently.

The 15-year-old elephant is suspected to have consumed a pineapple filled with powerful fire crackers which exploded in its mouth in the Silent Valley forest. It died in the Velliyar River a week later on May 27.

The experts said it must be ensured that wild animals do not suffer such acts of barbarism again.

Advocate and environmentalist Gaurav Bansal said, 'There is an urgent need to save wildlife corridors which helps them move. Right now it is being encroached by humans. They save the biodiversity of forests.

'Need some provisions to protect wildlife corridors. Need to end animal-man conflict. Government should implement the legislation in a proper manner.' He said there is law in place banning wildlife trade yet it is happening and there is also a shortage of forest staff. If there is adequate staff, hunting can be stopped and in turn trading can be curbed, he said.

'The wild elephant's death is a wake up call for the country to protect its wildlife. This can be done by protecting wildlife corridors and resolving man-animal conflict,” said Bansal.

Sharing a similar view on the killings of wild animals and trading, environment and wildlife activist Gauri Maulekhi said the man-animal conflict needs to be resolved in a humane manner.

'Protection of wildlife habitats is very important. Currently paid hunting is prevalent in states like Kerala for wild boar and Himachal Pradesh for monkeys. This needs to be stopped. The man-animal conflict needs to be resolved in a humane manner.

'PM needs to intervene and get the states to stop this state-sponsored genocide of animals,' Maulekhi said.

Himachal Pradesh government has put monkeys in Schedule V (animals which may be hunted) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Kerala government has put wild boars under the same schedule.

The Indian chapter of an international organisation World Animal Protection, too, has appealed to the government to ensure wildlife trading is completely banned.

The NGO has urged the prime minister to support the global call for wildlife trade ban when he represents the country at the G20 summit scheduled in November this year.

Gajender K Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection India said, 'We can no longer ignore the fact that rampant trade of wild animals for the benefit of humans resulted in outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. And if we do not act now, this won't be the last pandemic. Wild animals belong in the wild. That is their natural habitat.

'We appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been an advocate of animal welfare and wildlife preservation in the past, to support the global ban of wildlife trade at the G20 summit.' World Animal Protection has also requested World Health Organisation to permanently ban all wildlife markets around the globe in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and to take a highly precautionary approach to the wildlife trade.

'By ending wildlife trade, we can protect thousands of species at risk of extinction due to human exploitation and help maintain biodiversity. We can help ensure wild animals have a home and continue to play their vital role in maintaining functioning ecosystems.

'We can prevent invasive species being introduced to new habitats, which can cause resource competition, bring a risk of disease, and native species declines.' Sharma said. PTI AG TDS TDS