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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 5:

Let us take a pledge to protect and preserve wildlife and show zero-tolerance to the illegal trade in wildlife and make a difference, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on the sidelines of World Environment Day here today.

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“My government is taking all possible steps to protect and preserve wildlife through a Wildlife Crime Control Cell which is functioning at Bhubaneswar. The objective is to take pro-active measures to prevent illegal trade and commerce in wild flora and fauna. Due to joint efforts of Wildlife Wing and CID, Crime Branch, illegal trade has been checked to a great extent. Public awareness campaigns involving the local communities and voluntary organisations are being organised for protection and conservation of wildlife and to control illegal trade in wildlife,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.

Notably, there has been a ban on all commercial trade of wildlife species which are regarded as threatened with imminent extinction, which was agreed to, by parties in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Accordingly, international control is implemented for those species in which trade is a significant factor and it could affect their survival.

“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. Every part of our planet is connected directly or indirectly with our life. When species are lost, ecosystems cannot function properly, and the lives of all associated partners – including human being will be disturbed,” Patnaik said.

It may be mentioned here that this year’s slogan for World Environment Day is – Go Wild for Life. The objective is to safeguard all those species which are under threat and take action so that they live happily on the earth.

The state government has chosen this year’s theme as “Illegal Trade in Wildlife”. This theme has been chosen in order to generate awareness against the mindless killing of wildlife and the illegal trade of their body parts. Disappearance of iconic species such as elephants, tigers or sea turtles would be a disaster for conservation efforts. 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.

Patnaik also congratulated all 217 Prakruti Mitra and 205 Prakruti Bandhu Awardees who are doing outstanding work in the field of environment protection and preservation. Their contribution will be a source of inspiration to others. I also congratulate all participants and winners of State level Eco-Model exhibition, he added.