Rare species in peril

Published: Friday 31 January 1997

-- international experts recently sounded an alarm bell over conservationists' fervour for saving the Indian tiger. They say for want of attention, several rare species in the country stand the chance of being wiped out. They specify that the Indian one-horned rhinocerous, leopard, elephant, Himalayan black bear, Tibetan antelope, frogs, rare birds, reptiles and other species fall under the category of the "exploited and neglected".

"There is almost a complete failure to enforce the trade ban under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act," said Dave Curry, director of the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency. According to experts, already, the Indian one-horned rhino has been exterminated from the Laokhowa wildlife sanctuary in Assam which housed five per cent of the world's rhino population only 13 years ago.

The condition of leopards and elephants is no better. For instance, according to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, in the first four months of 1996 alone, two dead leopards were found and 64 leopard skins were seized. The scenario may worsen if tiger enthusiasts fail to conserve other rare species, warn experts.

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