Conservationists Blast India, China For Rampant Tiger Trade
Between 3,500 and 3,700 Indian tigers remain in the wild in India, according to official government estimates, down from about 40,000 tigers before India’s 1947 independence from Britain.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Sep 27, 2006
Demand from rich Chinese for Indian tiger pelts and parts used in traditional medicine fuels poaching and may lead to the extinction of the species in the wild, conservationists warned Wednesday. Trade of tiger pelts from India into Chinese-ruled Tibet was flourishing despite laws banning the move, a report released in New Delhi by two conservation groups said.
The Wildlife Protection Agency and Environment Investigation Agency estimate only 1,500 to 2,000 wild Royal Bengal Tigers are left in India. Collusion between poachers, government officials and buyers could lead to their rapid extinction unless quick action was taken.
“The clock is ticking for the tiger and there is only so much more talking we can do, the time for action is now, before the tiger vanishes,” Belinda Wright, head of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, said in a statement.
“In China it is politicians who have decided to turn a blind eye to smuggling from India,” Wright also told a press conference.
“We have evidence that there is even connivance. There is a small group of people in the Chinese government who want to open up the trade in parts.”