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Fiat seeking info on illegal lab specimens in vain?
The chief wildlife warden SS Sharma’s instruction to forest department officers to gather all information regarding presence of any body parts of prohibited wildlife species in the laboratories of both Government and private schools, polytechnics and other institutions does not seem to have had the desired effect.
Though the instruction was issued in February this year, information procured under Right To Information Act has revealed that the Kumaun Kesari Pt Badridutt Pandey Government PG College in Bhageshwar has in its possession 96 specimens of wild animals
protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. These specimens are being used in the zoology lab of the college and have not been declared under the Section 40 of the Act.
Under the Right To Information Act, People For Animals, Uttarakhand member secretary Gauri Maulekhi procured a list of all specimens accumulated by the college so far.
The specimens include various aquatic creatures, reptiles and invertebrates among others. In a letter to the chief wildlife warden, she has requested him to order confiscation of all undeclared specimens of animals protected under Schedule I and II of the Act.
In addition to directing an inquiry into the acquisition of the specimens by the college, the CWW has also been requested to initiate legal proceedings against persons responsible for declaring the specimens within the stipulated time. The role of the divisional forest staff who failed to act in this matter should also be inquired into while all divisional
forest officers should be directed to investigate similar cases in their divisions, she has requested.
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