The illegal international trade in environmentally sensitive items such as ozone depleting substances, toxic chemicals, hazardous waste, and endangered species is a serious problem with global impact. This scourge which affects all countries threatens human health, deteriorates the environment, and results in revenue loss for governments in some cases. In fact the illegal trade in wildlife can be as profitable as dealing in narcotics.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government's clean slate denying any reported case of illegal possession of shahtoosh items has come under tough scrutiny before the Supreme Court. At pains to implement a State law banning trade in shahtoosh items for the past five years, the Court took the State's assertion with a pinch of salt and instead asked the State machinery to come up with the true facts before July this year.

Issues relating to protection of the planet continue to capture media headlines and provoke public and political debate. The United Nationsʼ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has referred to global warming as a ʻweapon of mass destructionʼ (IPCC, 2007). However, global warming is not the only earth-threatening issue – there is also an increasing amount of environmental crime. The term ʻenvironmental crimeʼ is relatively new to the UK government lexicon but does not capture or harness the actions of the powerful towards acts of global environmental harm.

In a survey of ivory items for retail sale conducted in June 1999 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, almost 10,000 ivory objects were found, the fourth largest in Africa after Abidjan, Harare and Cairo.

The unique and beautiful Tibetan antelope, or chiru, is in imminent danger of extinction from illegal hunting. At current rates of hunting, the species may be extinct in the wild within two years. The chiru is hunted for its underfur, which is used to make a very fine wool called "shahtoosh." The problem is international: Chiru are hunted in China and their fur is smuggled to India and other countries, where it is made in shahtoosh and resold throughout the world.

As an animal high on popularity charts, the tiger has fascinated and awed generations for centuries. However, with its range confined to 14 Asian countries today, its distribution has more than halved and so have its numbers.

With tigers gone in Sariska, and unchecked poaching threatening tiger populations in many other reserves, is the Indian tiger finally destined for extinction? Hopefully, with a flurry of activity at the highest levels, the tiger might just get another chance at survival.

Assam has a proud legacy of successfully conserving the great Indian one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis)

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam has filed a petition in the Madras High Court seeking to declare the lease granted to four persons to do quarrying in the temple town of Thiruneermalai, near here, as illegal.

In his petition, K.Balakrishnan, the association general secretary, sought a consequent direction to the authorities not to permit the continued quarrying in the area.

A government inspection of 48 mines in Goa found 35 of them operating without a lease. Some of them did not have mandatory clearances. A committee chaired by the state