Haul of tiger body parts shows increased threat to India’s tigers
According to the Hindustan Times poachers killing tigers for money are back with avengeance following the seizure of at least seven tiger skins and over 160 kilogram of tiger bones on the Tibet-Nepal border. The haul suggests a revival of the popular smuggling route into China.
Three major tiger and leopard body part hauls in different districts of Nepal during January has triggered panic among the conservationists who claim that the recent seizures show that the magnitude of tiger killing in India is much more than reflected in the government’s official records.
The government has claimed that around 80 tigers were killed in India in 2012 whereas the seizures of tiger body parts in the year suggests a much higher level.
The biggest hauls came in January 2012 when Nepalese police seized five tiger skins and about 114 kilograms of tiger bones in bags in the Nawakot district very close to Tibet border. The body parts were to be smuggled into Tibet for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine and two people were arrested. The tiger skins and plastic bags containing bones were hidden under rice sacks in the van.
A day earlier, in Gorkha district about 160 km west from capital city of Kathmandu, Nepal police arrested some Tibetans with two tiger skins and 53 kilograms of tiger bones who were trying to smuggle the tiger parts to Tibet, officials said.
On January 27, the Nepalese authorities seized three leopard skins in the Kanchanpur district of Nepal, which is very close to Corbett National Park in the state of Uttarakhand which hasbeen under stress for some time due to the increasing poaching threat in the tiger reserve.
Anil Baluni, former vice-chairperson of Uttarakhand Forest Advisory body, said the tiger syndicates were operating in Nepal and the Indian government has not effectively taken the issue with the Nepalese government to crush these organised groups in the area of wildlife crime. “There is a sense that smuggling of tiger body parts into Nepal has become easy in the last few months,” he said.
“The rate at which India’s tigers are being killed and smuggled out of the country to fuel the Chinese market is alarming,” says DSWF, CEO Sally Case. “DSWF and its TigerTime campaign are working hard to raise awareness and money to support the amazing anti-poaching efforts of teams in Assam via the Aaranyak Society and throughout India in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India. Protecting the Indian tiger should not only be seen as an issue of national pride for India but one of international importance to everyone.”
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