By Shyam Sundar Vattam
Ivory smuggler Veerappan will be twitching in his grave. The Karnataka Forest Department is sitting on a rich haul of 2,353 elephant tusks collected over 40 years from dead elephants and poachers. And it has been directed to destroy all of it!
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) G S Prabhu told Express: “The Union Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) issued a circular to destroy all ivory stocks two years ago. But, so far, no state has acted on it, including Karnataka. We are ready to set fire to the whole st ock if other states do it, and if the government fears that the ivory will reach the wrong hands.”
Recently, the Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala Forest Department, V Gopinathan, issued a statement that his department “is mulling a proposal to set afire a huge pile of ivory to prevent it from reaching the hands of smugglers or carvers. If the proposal is finalised, Kerala might become the first state in the country to destroy ivory.”
India is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)-1989. Under this convention, ivory trade has been banned all over the world, except in a few African countries.
Sources said the Karnataka Forest Department has a stock weighing 9,443.37 kg as on February, 2013, which is in safe custody at the Sandalwood Koti in Aranya Bhavan, Mysore. More....