Bhubaneswar, April 11: The Nandankanan Zoological park will soon have a forensic laboratory to help crack wildlife-related crimes.
The first-of-its-kind lab in the state will be built on the park premises.
The construction of the laboratory building has been completed and the zoo authorities have floated a tender to procure required equipment.
The lab will have an analyst to perform the tests on wildlife samples such as nails, blood serum and body parts. Sources said the lab would come up at an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakh.
“The construction of the building is over and once we procure the microscopes and chemicals, the lab will start functioning,” said deputy director of the zoo Shiba Narayan Mohapatra.
The lab aims to expedite the process of detecting crimes such as poaching.
For example, if the body of an animal is found in a decomposed state, the sample will be brought to the lab and with the help of a forensic test, it will be identified.
The test will also be helpful when animal flesh is seized from poachers.
As of now, samples have to be sent to the forensic laboratory of the Wildlife Institute of India in Pune, because of which the entire process takes a long time. Sometimes the delay in obtaining the forensic report results in late conviction of poachers.
Poaching statistics in the state are alarming with a very low rate of conviction.
“Enforcement of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, is often hampered because of the lack of reference materials and methods necessary to identify the animal in various wildlife offence cases. The lab will be instrumental in controlling illegal wildlife trade,” said principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) J.D. Sharma.
The decision to set up the lab on the zoological park premises was taken because the zoo has more than 1,700 animals and samples can be taken from them to detect the animals in forensic tests.
“As a forensic test is a relative one, we can use the samples collected from captive animals of the zoo to identify animals,” said a senior official of the zoo.