Karnataka to Burn 12 Tonnes of Ivory Seized from Poachers
The government has been urged to keep records of the stockpile, as concerns of pilferage have been raised.
Wildlife activists have advised the Karnataka government to watch out for pilferage after the forest and wildlife department announced plans to destroy the “white gold” as Kenya did, in order to send a strong message against poaching.
Karnataka has the largest number of elephants in the country but due to rampant poaching, the wildlife department has accumulated 12 tonnes of tusks which had been seized from poachers and smugglers, or removed from dead elephants. The ivory is stored in a room in Mysuru city called “gandhada kote” which means ‘fortress of sandal’.
Karnataka’s Chief Wildlife Warden WB Hosmat told The News Minute that they were awaiting formal approval from the government to burn the ivory in phases starting in October.
We are waiting for government’s approval. Legal issues have been sorted out for tusks seized from smugglers. Burning it in the public will send a strong message to the market for ivory that tusks should have no commercial value.WB Hosmat, Chief Wildlife Warden, Karnataka
Karnataka wildlife conservationist Praveen Bhargav welcomed the government’s decision, but cautioned that forest officials should keep a keen watch to ensure that the tusks are not stolen.
This is the time when there will be pilferage because there would be this mentality that the tusks would anyway be burnt. There should be a record of how many tusks have come in and have been burnt. If the department does not maintain records, then there are chances of ivory being smuggled from the forest department itself.Praveen Bhargav , Wildlife Conservationist
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