The Karnataka government has recently approved a project of worth Rs 2.7 crore for the establishment of state wildlife forensic laboratory in Bengaluru.
The operations in laboratory are expected to begin in March with the modern equipment to provide analysis to aid in the investigation of wildlife crimes.
Till now, the samples from wildlife criminal cases in Karnataka are sent to Dehradun or Hyderabad for analysis, that delays the investigation process in many instances. However, now with the establishment of new wildlife forensic laboratory, the analysis process will speedup.
It has been reported that the new laboratory will focus on two main areas: DNA Analysis and Morphological Analysis.
DNA analysis will be providing details on the origin of confiscated samples, such as nails, hair, and teeth, and the species they came from, whereas the morphological analysis will be helping in the identification of animals through the study of their physical features and textures.
The officials of the forest department has claimed that the establishment of this wildlife forensic laboratory will be a major boost to the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes in the state.
The in-charge principal chief conservator of forest(wildlife), Rajiv Ranjan says, “FSL reports will act as strong evidence, especially in cases where there are many loose ends. Determining the time of death, genetic sequencing and other analysis will help in better investigation.”
It has been reported that the proposal for the establishment of a wildlife forensic laboratory in Karnataka has been under discussion for a while, and finally received the confirmation.
At present, there are two central government wildlife DNA testing laboratories in India, located at Dehradun and Hyderabad. India’s first state wildlife forensic laboratory has been established in Nagpur in the year 2021.
The wildlife forensic laboratories helps in identification of the animal species, tracing human activity in the restricted conservation area, separating the fake and original animal products and provides details about the wildlife crime.
Wildlife crimes are very much prevalent in India due to diverse species of plants and animals. Therefore, various laws have been formulated to protect the wildlife in India, such as the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The Wildlife Forensic and Conservation Genetics (WFCG) Cell had been formed after merging the Wildlife Forensic with Conservation Genetics Laboratories for proper enforcement of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 of India.
The main functions of the Cell includes:-
- Conducting research for improvement of the wildlife forensic procedures.
- Identifying the species from a diversity of wildlife parts and products.
- Enforcement support.
- Developing and maintaining a repository of wildlife orientation samples.