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Poaching of wild animals a serious issue: Govt



Times of India, Delhi, 16th July 2014


Terming poaching of wild animals as a serious issue, government on Wednesday said wildlife in the country is "under stress" with illegal trade in South East Asia alone to the tune of $60 billion.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said killing of wild animals for illegal trade is a "serious issue" and government was taking a number of steps to prevent poaching and illegal trade.

Responding to supplementaries in the Lok Sabha, he said government is strengthening mechanisms in state through centrally sponsored schemes.

He said efforts are on to include wildlife smuggling in the agenda for bilateral interactions with relevant neighbouring countries.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Nepal to establish a joint task force to check trafficking across international borders.

To another supplementary, Javadekar said 17 species which are on the verge of extinction have been identified and plans are afoot to set up breeding centres.

He also said the number of tigers has increased in the country and the exact figure will be tabled in Parliament when available.

The minister also rejected suggestions that radio collars put on tigers affect their capability to hunt due to weight.

He said the government is not aware of study but was willing to look into the issue if it is provided with the study.

Responding to a question on man-animal conflict, he said following a court ruling, states have been asked to decide on the area around eco-sensitive zones to avoid incidents like animals damaging crops.

4.8 per cent of land including national parks, reserves and zoos have been declared as 'eco-sensitive zone', he said.