Wildlife & Biodiversity

Body parts of hundreds of tigers seized between 2016 and 2018

Around 150 seizures were made from countries across the world, even from those that are not home to tigers

 
By Ishan Kukreti
Last Updated: Friday 01 February 2019
Tiger wine
Tiger wine being sold in Myanmar. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Tiger wine being sold in Myanmar. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

This story was first published on January 29. It has been corrected to remove references to the number of seizures in different countries

Body parts of hundreds of tigers were found in over 150 seizures across various countries of the world, including those that are not part of the big cat’s home range.

This is according to data compiled from various media reports and other sources by global non-governmental organisation, TRAFFIC.

"This data is preliminary and needs verification from the countries. Once that entire process is done, the final dataset will be out," said James Compton, Senior Director – Asia-Pacific, TRAFFIC.

The maximum number of seizures were made in India, Indonesia and Vietnam. Seizures were also made in countries which are not the home ranges of tigers, like Mexico, where the tiger parts were in the process of being sent to the United States, according to Compton.

“Poaching is dependent on the demand for tiger parts and in recent years, it has been increasing. Therefore, it is essential to reduce the market for tiger parts through effective law enforcement in order to bring down poaching,” Compton said in a presentation made at the 3rd Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation in New Delhi on January 29.

The conference was organised to discuss the issues related to the implementation of the Global Tiger Recovery Program, launched after 13 tiger range countries agreed to the St Petersburg Declaration in 2010. It was resolved in the declaration to double tiger numbers across their range by 2022. The conference was hosted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in close collaboration with the Global Tiger Forum which is an international, inter-governmental organisation for conserving tigers across the world.

Known hot spots for illegal trade in tiger parts include the Indo-Nepalese border, South India, Central India, Mekong-China, Indonesia-China and Russia-China. Due to lack of centralised data across tiger range countries, it is difficult to enforce laws, according to Tilotama Varma, Additional Director, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India.

“It is really difficult to get data from Southeast Asian countries and China. If we had a centralised data bank, the illegal trade could be curbed,” she said, emphasising on the need for more cross-country cooperation between countries where there is high demand for tiger parts as well as countries which are home to tiger population.  

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