Wildlife carcasses not to be burnt anymore in State forests

In a major departure from the existing practices, the Forest Department in Karnataka will no longer incinerate or bury the carcasses of wild animals, and the order comes into force with immediate effect.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vijaykumar Gogi issued a directive to this effect on Wednesday and is based on the views expressed by senior wildlife scientist and conservation biologist Dr. Sanjay Gubbi. However, the forest department circular states that this new order does not apply in the case of tigers.

Dr. Gubbi had pointed out that the carcasses of wildlife, including elephants, large carnivores and other herbivores, were burnt even if these carcasses were found inside their natural habitats. Dr. Gubbi had stated that carcasses play an important role in the ecosystem as they provide food for several species. Besides, carcasses are rich in nutrients and are important source of energy for scavengers and predators.

But what helped swing the decision was the point that the carcasses sustain the natural population of vultures, which are now listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Dr. Gubbi’s request to modify the method of wildlife carcass disposal was also due to the impact of the decomposition of carcasses on soil and its properties. Studies have sown that the carcasses increased the abundance of bacteria and fungi communities up to 40 months depicting the long-lasting positive impact of a carcass.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 8:53:21 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/wildlife-carcasses-not-to-be-burnt-anymore-in-state-forests/article65297393.ece