The Maharashtra State Wildlife Board (MSWB) headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis granted permission to Tejas, younger son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, to collect live crabs from sanctuaries in the Western Ghats on Wednesday. Tejas claims to have discovered three new species of freshwater crabs and wants to research the species further.
“Under section 29 of the Wildlife (protection) Act 1972, carrying live samples outside the protected forest needs special permission by the wildlife warden. The proposal, in turn, comes to the board for approval,” said an official from the forest department.
Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said Tejas sought permission as he wanted to carry out scientific research on the crabs. “The species which Tejas wants to research are found in the Radhanagari, Koyana, Bhimashankar and Kalsubai sanctuaries in the Sahyadris. We were told about Tejas’ application only when it came up in the meeting,” he said.
The proposal says Tejas has sought permission to collect live samples of the Ghatiana, Gubernatorana, Ingletelphusa and Barytelphua crabs.
Tejas had discovered and described the freshwater crabs that live in the Western Ghats. His paper was published in the Zootaxa journal on February 23.
The MSWB has also decided to encourage the conservation of wild buffaloes in the Kolamark conservation reserve in Gadchiroli.