NEW DELHI – The Centre is preparing fresh guidelines to create awareness among tourists, both domestic and international, against purchasing wildlife souvenirs made from endangered species.
“We would like to inform the tourists that by buying these wildlife souvenirs, they would not only be encouraging the illegal trade of our most beautiful and unusual wildlife but also putting them on the road to extinction,” a senior official from the Ministry of Environment said.
Fresh guidelines are being prepared by the Tourism Ministry on behalf of the Ministry of Environment with an aim to create awareness among tourists against buying wildlife souvenirs like tiger teeth, elephant ivory carvings or turtle shell accessories.
As per the existing law, anyone can be put behind bars for buying souvenirs made from endangered species, he said.
Countries such as Vietnam, Australia and the US have been warning tourists against buying items made from animal parts.
“Though we would also be warning them about the wildlife law, our aim is not to prosecute the holidaymakers. We are seeking their support in wildlife protection,” he said, while pointing to the huge global illegal wildlife trade worth USD five billion annually.
The ever increasing tourists inflow is also putting additional pressure on the endangered species such as tigers, star tortoise, exotic birds, corals and medicinal plants, he said.