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Military units seek to display seized tiger skins as trophies

Deccan Herald, Bangalore, 1st September, 2014 Forest dept declines their request, says will burn them instead. With the Karnataka government agreeing to part with seized ivory tusks, which the Armed forces intend to display as trophies, military regiments have now been seeking the Forest department’s approval to display seized tiger skins as trophies in their headquarters. It is said that at least three to four regiments have sought the tiger skins seized by the Forest department. These military regiments include the 45 Air Defence regiment in Basantar, 17 Mahar Regiment, among others across the nation. The Forest department has, however, denied the requests and decided to burn the tiger skins instead. Orders to burn tiger skin Vinay Luthra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), said that the department would issue orders shortly to burn the tiger skins in its possession. “Unlike ivory tusks, which the State government has decided to give to military units to display as trophies, tiger skin is a much more sensitive material, in terms of wildlife,” he told Deccan Herald. “Since it is not appropriate to display tiger skin as trophies, we have rejected all requests seeking to display these skins. We will burn those in our possession, as they are quite old and in bad condition.” The Forest department is said to be in possession of four tiger skins kept with their range offices located close to tiger reserves across Karnataka. However, there is no count of tiger skins in the custody of the local law and order police, seized as evidence in ongoing cases of poaching. NTCA guidelines As per the guidelines issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on March 18, 2013:  “When body parts are seized, the same may be required as evidence for prosecution in the courts of law. In such situations, do not dispose of the same till the orders of the court concerned for such disposal are obtained. Once orders have been obtained by the competent authority, dispose of the body part(s) by incineration in the presence of the Field Director or an officer not below the rank of the Conservator of Forests, besides the Team (same as prescribed for the post-mortem) having representation from a civil society institution. While incinerating the body parts, the sequence must be photographed and video recorded. Before leaving the site, ensure that the whole/all body parts are fully burnt.”