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India tops in seizure of tiger parts: Study



The Pioneer, New Delhi, 9th March, 2013

With barely 3,200 tigers left in the world, the latest report of seizures of parts, of more than 1,400 tigers during the last decade, highlights the immense threat of poaching that continues to lurk on big cats. The study called “Reduced to Skin and Bones- an analysis of tiger seizures,” has been made by TRAFFIC India.

According to the study, India has reported the most seizures since 2000 at 336. It is followed by China (58) and Vietnam (50), which have small numbers of wild Tigers, but large numbers of captive animals, amongst others.

The study demonstrates that while there is improved law enforcement and the emergence of intelligence-led policing, it also shows the poachers getting smarter. The study shows that major part of this illegal trade is being carried out through online markets.

It has been revealed in China for instance that offenders can easily devise their modus operandi to circumvent detection.

Another alarming observation emerging from the study states that 89% of seizures have occurred outside protected areas. Of this 31% of seizures occurred within 10 km of a protected area, a further 48% within 50 km. Further, seizures within a protected area accounted for just over 11% indicating that most poached tigers are removed from such areas undetected.

The study has lauded the role of India, which has the most robust national seizure data set, crime analysis mapping software was used to pinpoint five statistically significant hotspots of illegal tiger trade.

It is only India out of the 13 Tiger range countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Viet Nam), that has maintained sufficiently detailed seizure records to allow meaningful analysis to identify the ‘hotspots’ where tiger trade was taking place.

Based on the information, five ‘hotspot’ locations were identified, including Delhi, while the other four were close to protected areas in different parts of the country (Uttar Pradesh, central India, West Bengal (Sundarbans) and the southern India landscape of the Western Ghats).