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Interesting news from India, where the National Zoological Park (NZP – also known as Delhi Zoo) has sanctioned the incineration of tens of thousands of pounds worth of wildlife products. The products, which range from hippopotamus’ teeth to tiger skulls, will now be incinerated in an effort to raise awareness that the collection of these items is a criminal offence. In normal circumstances, the zoo would hand the parts over to the Wildlife Institute of India to aid in its research and study programmes. However the Institute has now reached a point where it has a surplus of the items in question, so the zoo has taken the bold step of destroying them using its own dedicated 150kg-capacity zoo animal incinerator which it spent in the region of £12,000 renovating. The items in question include elephant tusks, rhino horns, tiger nails, fox and jackal skull and chinkara horns, along with a tiger skull which could command a high value if sold privately. Dr Paneerselvam, veterinary doctor at Delhi Zoo, said; “We have two elephant tusks weighing 4.5 kg worth Rs.2.50 lakh (around £2,500) each. These were obtained by trimming the tusk of our elephant here. We also have three rhino horns & two of which are worth around Rs.5 lakh (around £500). The third one is smaller and is cheaper. Dr Paneelselvam added that the move was symbolic; the total value of the products is around £20,000, but the zoo feels it is sending out a stronger message by correctly disposing of the animal parts through proper incineration methods. We have to admit it’s rare to see animal incinerators being used to drive home a bold political message. That said, the zoo’s intentions are clearly designed to bring about a positive change in attitudes, and we hope it has the desired effect.

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