ZSI's five labs to assist forensic testsUpdated: Aug 24, 2017 20:47 IST
DEHRADUN: Investigation in wildlife crime cases will receive a boost as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is set to upgrade and equip five laboratories for analysing biological samples.
Under the MoEFCC plan, the Zoological Survey of India will modernise its five labs in Kolkata (headquarters), Chennai, Pune, Dehradun and Hyderabad. Boasting a network of over 1,000 scientists across the country, the ZSI recently recruited 40 more scientists to work in these five labs that will from now deal exclusively with wildlife cases.
The notification is to be done by the Union home ministry within a few months following which the process of equipping the five labs with modern, cutting-edge tools will start. The MoEFCC is engaging the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly for its expertise in toxicology test. These five labs will also conduct toxicology test once they are upgraded.
In the September 3, 2016 edition, Hindustan Times reported that the MoEFCC was looking for new labs for promptly carrying out forensic tests. The decision was taken after a spate of delay in lab findings affected investigation in tiger deaths.
Of the 62 tiger deaths reported so far this year, the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s website mentions the cause of mortality is known only in 12 and the remaining cases are under observation. This delay on many occasions affects the process of investigation. “We definitely need more laboratories for speedy results to ascertain the cause of tiger deaths,” NTCA member secretary Debabrata Swain said.
Moreover, Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India and Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology-the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species will be relived from the burden of large number of wildlife cases. “The labs were already conducting forensic tests of wildlife and custom cases. But, with the strengthening, we will focus on wildlife crime mainly,” ZSI director Kailash Chandra told HT.
As per official records, WII received 3,322 samples for testing between 1987 and 2016. In 2015, the institute started began to impose costs for conducting tests. But it’s still conducting forensic tests free of cost for Uttarakhand.
First Published: Aug 24, 2017 20:47 IST