The Maharashtra government is setting up a wildlife forensic laboratory, aimed at performing DNA analysis of animals, which will become functional by April next year, an official said on Wednesday.
This will be the second such facility in the country after Hyderabad.
Currently, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at Kalina in Mumbai conducts DNA testing of animals.
"The wildlife DNA testing laboratory in Nagpur will become functional by March-April next year, wherein analysis of the wildlife-related cases will be done. Around 8-10 staffers will work in the lab," the official said.
"Right now, the Kalina FSL performs the DNA testing through electrophoresis detection method by analysing animals' blood, flesh, tissues, etc," the official added.
Asked about the need to set up the lab in Nagpur, officials said a wide variety of animals is found in the forests surrounding the second capital of Maharashtra, which is why a number of wildlife-related cases are reported from the region.
"Kalina FSL receives around 200-250 wildlife-related cases, of which around 100-120 are from Nagpur," the officials said.
They also said that the office of Maharashtra's Principal Chief Conservator of Forests is also located in Nagpur, which would facilitate in the progress of the cases after the forensic lab analysis.
"Earlier, after the seizure of skins of tigers, lions, leopards, elephant tusks or cattle meat, police used to find it difficult to get them analysed to ascertain the breed, gender and other details of the animals. But once the Nagpur facility starts functioning, the probe will become faster," the official added.
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