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A plea for a probe into the trading of 'shahtoosh' shawls to prevent extinction of the endangered Tibetan antelope whose wool is used to make them, has prompted the Delhi High Court to seek the responses from the Centre and city government. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Delhi government's Department of Forests and Wildlife, saying "serious allegations have been raised in the petition" and sought their replies by August 24. The petition, filed by NGO Nutan Sankalp Foundation, also sought a direction to the Delhi government to appeal against the acquittal of three persons accused of illegal trading of 'shahtoosh' shawls by a district court here on November 2, 2016 and initiation of fresh prosecution against them. "Direct respondents (Centre, Delhi government) to probe and proceed in a fair, just and equitable manner in cases of organised crimes relating to dealing and selling of shahtoosh shawls made from the wool of the Tibetan antelope (Chiru) in order to protect and prevent the extinction of this critically endangered species," the plea said. It said that these species were being killed and poached in a most cruel and barbaric way by illegal traders and poachers in contravention of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and sought guidelines for lasting protection of wildlife. "Lay down stringent guidelines, procedures and protocol for investigation and prosecution of the wildlife-related crimes and to enforce zero tolerance to trafficking and trade in wildlife related items to ensure effective and lasting protection of the wildlife in India and fulfilment of aims, objectives and provisions of the Act to protect the cause of conservation of wildlife and animal life in general," it said. The petition also sought a direction to the department of forest and wildlife to take immediate action and file an appeal against the district court judgement of November 2016 whereby the accused persons were acquitted "despite overwhelming evidence against them".
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