Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tiger Conservation & China

In spite of early success of Project Tiger and other conservation measures the status of tiger in India is at an extreme peril. The subsequent reduction in numbers of tigers gained due to Project Tiger perplexed wildlife managers and NGOs in the country.

Thanks to the efforts of WPSI headed by Belinda Wright and other participants and others, it soon downed upon us where the tigers were heading.

Since ages the traditional Chinese medicine system depended heavily on tiger parts to make medicines and aphrodisiac (sic!) that supposedly cured people of various disease. Unfortunately this trend continues in the present scenario creating a mess of tiger conservation in India.

The majority of the tiger poaching incidence in our reserves is due to demand of tiger parts in China and some other Asian countries. But this does not absolve us of the onus of protecting our own natural wealth and wildlife.

There has been some legislation set up in China for the protection of the species. Our Hon. Minister Jairam Ramesh on visit to Tadoba recently pointed out and stressed upon China to do more. More needs to be done as tigers poached in India are smuggled through Tibet, Nepal and Burma. It is very difficult to stop smuggling of tiger parts due to extensive and porous borders.

Another aspect we should look into is to protect tiger within. The statement of the minister assures us that the Government is serious about protecting tigers. But it would require assistance of all concerned - the administration and the people. Pro active protection measures and strict punishment for those involved in poaching is the order of the day.

Since the tiger population in China is practically decimated the demand for dead tigers from India is increasing in that country.

Unlike traditional Chinese system of medicine Indian Ayurvedic system has not laid out stress on animal species albeit regulated consumption of certain rare herbs is the need of the hour.

At present the tiger is secure in few tiger reserves like Kanha and Bandhavgarh but this is a presumption till taken by surprise. The tiger reserves are the target of mafia allegedly responsible for engaging small time local poachers for a paltry sum. The axe has not fallen on tigers alone but on the leopard as well.

It is the year of the tiger in China. I hope the people there stress upon keeping the species alive and thriving as a mark of respect and desist from consuming medicines made of dead tiger.

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