New Delhi: India will on Sunday start destroying its stockpile of seized illegal wildlife articles, including tiger pelts and ivory, to demonstrate the country's commitment towards protection of its flora and fauna.
The illegal wildlife products to be pulverised and burned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests at the Delhi Zoo include those derived from tigers, elephants, leopards, lions, snakes, deer, mongoose, owls and shells.
These were seized by the Delhi Wildlife department.
"Highlighting the importance of protection of biodiversity, particularly wildlife, illegal wildlife products will be consigned to flames in the incinerator at the National Zoological Park (Zoo) in the presence of Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar," the Ministry said.
The Ministry noted that use of products of various animals and plants, "often based on unjustified and unethical reasons" has been a factor flaming illegal activities like poaching, smuggling and illegal wildlife trade.
In order to curb this unethical behaviour, the law enforcement agencies all over the world including India have been putting in serious efforts in combating wildlife crimes and have seized a large number of wildlife products resulting from unlawful activities.
"The exercise is an attempt to deplore the unethical, indiscriminate and mostly unlawful activities of harvest and trade of wildlife products," the government said.
A Ministry official said that it would be a step in appreciating the efforts of various law enforcement agencies like forest and wildlife departments, wildlife crime control bureau, police, customs and many others who have contributed immensely for the cause of protection of biodiversity.
According to WWF, a leading organisation in wildlife conservation and endangered species, each year hundreds of millions of plants and animals are caught or harvested from the wild and then sold as food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist curios, and medicine.
While a great deal of this trade is legal and is not harming wild populations, a worryingly large proportion is illegal and threatens the survival of many endangered species, says the WWF.