TV no place for wild animals: Indian Forest Dept

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 22-04-2012

A ban on the display of wild animals on Indian television is being called for by the Karnataka Forest Department.
BK Singh, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) has written to Justice Markandeya Katju, the chairman of the Press Council of India, stating the possession of wild animals for television shows is a crime under the Wildlife Protection Act, reports the Deccan Chronicle.
In March, three people were arrested for carrying cobras following a CID Forest Cell raid on a Kannada TV channel. The Rockline Studio in Nagasandra was reportedly filming a reality TV show using snakes.
"Displaying any wildlife under controlled conditions for commercial use is banned. The animals undergo tremendous stress in front of light and people around them. The possession of any wildlife is illegal if not certified by the department. We have no facility to rent out wild animals for TV shows," said Mr B K Singh.
"Dancing bears, monkeys and snake charmers are banned under the law. But snake charmers surface around temples. They supply snakes to reality shows and film shootings," he added, saying an amendment to the law is being sought to restrict street shows involving animals.
Praveen Bhargav, a wildlife expert, also called for greater awareness, warning that TV producers should completely avoid showing wildlife on screen. "Be it a wild animal or a dead specimen, it requires a possession certificate from the chief wildlife warden. If there is no such certificate and, worse, the animals are badly handled, it is an offence," he is quoted as saying in the Deccan Chronicle.