The legal fraternity, right from the judges in the Supreme Court to the law students, has a very important role to play in facilitating the biological diversity conservation, said conservation scientist Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar.

While referring to a recent judgment of the Supreme Court which observed that ‘conservation of biodiversity is vital for human well-being and health’ Dr Talukdar on Thursday underlined that conservation of biodiversity was a responsibility of every citizen on the earth.

Dr Talukdar, who is also the CEO of Aaranyak, said biodiversity should be conserved for the basic reason that this diversity provides us with food, potable water and clean air.

Addressing a group of law students at Bishnu Ram Medhi Government Law College in Guwahati, Dr Talukdar said conservation of wildlife and their habitat was of prime importance in the greater interest of the survival of the human beings on the earth.

“Students of law, who are going to become lawyers, judges, and faculties in judicial institutions or even administrator or political leaders in future, need to understand that crimes aimed at causing destruction of bio-resources including wildlife are as heinous as crimes like murder of a human life,” said Dr Talukdar.

“So, a wider understanding of legal fraternity on the importance of the biodiversity supports ecological balance in this planet to facilitate deterring punishment for crime against biological resources,” he added.

Conservation of wildlife habitat and wetlands are of prime importance for the conservation of flora and fauna, said Dr Talukdar, who has been the chair of the Asian Rhino Specialist Group of the IUCN since 2008 and Asia coordinator of International Rhino Foundation since June 2008.

Dr Talukdar is an Ashoka fellow since 2007 and recipient of IUCN/SSC chair’s citation in 2008 for leading IUCN/SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group under challenging circumstances.

He said species diversity, genetic diversity (within the species) and eco-system diversity are together referred to biodiversity and underscored that every component of biodiversity was of equal importance.

Referring to the clandestine global trade of wildlife which has posed a serious threat to biodiversity, Dr Talukdar said it is considered globally the fourth largest illegal trade after trades in narcotics, human trafficking and arms.

He said wildlife hunters are globally interlinked and assume alarming proportion with the involvement of organised and well-trained gangs armed with sophisticated weapons.

Hunting of wildlife is no longer a crime that can be underrated as it has far far-reaching ramifications.

He further said every citizen needs to be concerned with environmental degradation, deforestations, alteration of wetlands which in turn shall pose serious crisis to get potable water to drink and pure air to inhale.

The conservationist gave examples of acute drying up of groundwater reservoirs in Guwahati where many households had to buy their daily water need as groundwater is fast depleting.

He said, “Groundwater is depleting fast as wetlands in Guwahati have been altered.”

“Even wetland like Deepar Beel has shrunk in the past two decades and such destruction of wetlands in the city has increased the city flood problem to a great extent,” Dr Talukdar added.

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