Union govt’s approval for using deer antlers in Ayurveda medicines

The Kerala Government has approached the Union Government for allowing use of antlers of spotted deer and sambar of Ayurveda medicines. The State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) approved a request from the state-run Oushadhi to collect and use antlers shed by spotted deer and sambars in zoos for preparing ayurvedic medicines. Tonnes of antlers are kept in the stores of Department of Museums and Zoos as the sale and use of antlers are banned in India under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. A senior official of the Forest Department said the reconstituted SBWL approved the request of Oushadhi and it would be sent for the consideration of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). He said since the state board has given its nod in this regard, there would not be any bottlenecks in receiving the final clearance from NBWL. Antlers are the extensions of the skull of the deer. All the three deer varieties found in Kerala, including spotted deer, sambar, and barking deer, shed their antlers annually, said a wildlife specialist. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, has included antler in the definition of wildlife trophy. A wildlife trophy is defined as the “whole or any part of any captive animal or wild animal. Section 39 of the Act also states that “no person shall, without the previous permission in writing of the Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer acquire or keep in his possession, custody or control or transfer to any person, whether by way of gift, sale or otherwise or destroy or damage such property”. Wildlife and wildlife trophies are considered as owned by the government. The Act also prescribes imprisonment up to three years and fine of RS. 25,000 for offences involving wildlife trophies.

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