Bengaluru will soon be home to Karnataka’s first wildlife forensic sciences laboratory. According to sources, the state government approved the project for Rs 2.7 crore, and the centre will start operations in March.
Despite the fact that the project has been under discussion for ten years, the state government’s official permission came in recently. According to authorities from the forest department, wildlife forensics is vital in the investigation of crimes, and a specialised lab in Karnataka will help increase the conviction rate.
Samples from these cases in Karnataka are currently sent to Dehradun or Hyderabad, which has frequently held down the investigation process. Sharath Babu R, a wildlife conservationist, said, “For instance, the Chennammanakere Achkat police seized close to 365 tiger nails in 2020, and even to this day, no action could be initiated owing to the delay.”
He further added that at least ten wildlife offences might be reported by the state each month and expressed the hope that the forensic centre will open shortly. He said, “Officials have been dragging their feet on the proposal for years now. There have only been talks since 2004 and we are hopeful that things will start happening on the ground at least now.”
DNA analysis and morphological analysis will be the two main areas of concentration in the new laboratory. While morphological analysis assists in the identification of animals through the study of their physical characteristics and textures, DNA analysis will provide information on the origin and the species of samples that were seized, such as nails, hair, and teeth.
Rajiv Ranjan, in-charge principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife), told reporters, “FSL reports will act as strong evidence, especially in cases where there are many loose ends. Determining the time of death, genetic sequencing and other analysis will help in better investigation.”
According to Dharmendra Kumar Meena, head of the State Forensic Sciences Laboratory (SFSL), the facility will offer vital analyses and reports to support investigations.