Zero tolerance for illegal wildlife trade: Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said zero tolerance should be shown to illegal trade in wildlife. "Let us take a pledge to protect and preserve wildlife. Let us show zero tolerance to the illegal trade in wildlife and make a difference," he said at an event here to mark the the World Environment Day. Noting disappearance of iconic species such as elephants, tigers and sea turtles would be a disaster for conservation efforts, Patnaik said: "Even loss of any local species, at a local level, is an erosion of the biodiversity that underpins the natural systems upon which we all depend for our food security, medicines, fresh air, water, shelter and a clean and healthy environment."  The theme of this year 'Illegal Trade in Wildlife' was chosen in order to generate awareness against the mindless killing of wildlife and illegal trade of their body parts. "The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains. We share the Earth with millions of different species of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms," said Patnaik. He said there has been a ban on all commercial trade of wildlife species regarded as threatened with imminent extinction. The ban was agreed to by parties in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. International control is implemented for those species in which trade is a significant factor and it could affect their survival, he added. Patnaik said the state government is taking all possible steps to protect and preserve wildlife through a Wildlife Crime Control Cell functioning here.