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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 16, 2007
WWF urges India to resist Chinas pressure on lifting tiger ban
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WWF urges India to resist Chinas pressure on lifting tiger ban

The Indian wing of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) today urged the Centre not to succumb into Chinese pressure of lifting a ban on trading tiger parts. The conservation group said that any such move would wipe out the endangered cats from the country.

New Delhi, May 16 : The Indian wing of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) today urged the Centre not to succumb into Chinese pressure of lifting a ban on trading tiger parts. The conservation group said that any such move would wipe out the endangered cats from the country.

The call came a day after a Chinese delegation met Indian officials seeking support to lift the ban, imposed in 1993 on the sale of tiger bones in China for use in traditional medicines as well as skins.

"We believe that if China will legalise the trade of Tiger parts from its tiger farms in its domestic market, it will directly effect the tiger population in our country. Tiger poaching will rise in our country because of it," said Sameer Sinha, a wildlife activist.

Beijing is expected to ask permission to lift the ban at the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) in Hague in June.

Conservationists say pressure to lift the ban on the Chinese government is coming from powerful investors in these farms, who stand to make enormous profits if the trade becomes legal.

The ban dramatically reduced the market for traditional medicines made from tigers and the current small illegal market is worth around 500 million dollars annually.

The businessmen and tiger breeders argue that selling tiger parts for use in traditional medicines to treat rheumatism and loss of appetite would actually "help preserve the endangered animals," as the trade would be regulated and there would less poaching.

But conservationists say making the tiger trade legal will result in a massive surge in demand for parts leading to increased poaching in countries like India, which is facing a crisis in trying to save its own population of the big cats.

"The condition of our national animal share is serious. It is not something, which has occurred now; the population of tigers in the country is declining for the last 10-25 years. It is not that the population of the tiger is declining in every part of the country, places where the security is right the tigers are safe, but the condition is not even across the country. Government should do something about it," said Ravi Singh, WWF, India.

There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago, but decades of poaching and depletion of their natural habitat have cut their number to 3,700. Some wildlife experts say the total could be as low as 1,200.

ANI

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