The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains, lamented Third Additional District and Sessions Court Judge Sudheendranath S, here on Saturday.
He was speaking after inaugurating World Environment Day celebrations jointly organised by the District Administration, District Legal Services Authority, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and Sri Rajaguru Gnana Jagruthi Samsthe at Karnataka State Pollution Control Board premises.
The judge said that illegal wildlife trade like poaching of elephants for ivory and tigers for their skin and bones are a known fact. In addition, countless other species are similarly overexploited, he added.
Citing an example of ivory trade in the state, Justice Sudheendra noted that reports on ivory trade estimated to weigh more than 12 tons was seized by the forest department, recently. “What has come as shocking news is that a large amount of illegal ivory trade goes on.”
Further raising concern over the sharp increase in illegal wildlife trade, Justice Sudheendra said that exploitation of wildlife is a big business run by international mafia, wildlife and animal parts are trafficked much like drugs and arms. “Though the government has enacted several laws and Acts and protected areas formed, we have not been able to avoid poaching. In fact, the statistics reveal that poaching is rampant in the so-called protected areas. The reason most of the wildlife trade is organised crime. Hence, there is a great responsibility on all of us to come together and combat illegal wildlife trade.”
Deputy Commissioner C Shikha and Justice Sudheendranath distributed prizes to children who participated in a painting competition organised by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board at Kukkarahalli lake premnises on World Environment Day.
Karnataka State Pollution Control Board President Dr T H Udayashankar, senior officer at Karnataka State Pollution Control Board K M Lingaraju, resource person Sathish and others were present.