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China, India to sign MoU to protect tigers, chirus





By Yojna Gusai

The Asian Age, New Delhi, 29 May 2006

New Delhi, May 28: Come Monday, both India and China are set to finalise the agenda, to be tabled before the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

A Chinese delegation is in India, headed by state forestry administration deputy director-general Meng Xianlin in the endangered species import and export management office of the country. The delegation is to meet senior officers, including Union environment and forests ministry, and is likely to reinforce the memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries on Monday.

The delegation will be visiting Corbet National Park, along with other tiger reserves in the country next week. The two countries have signed a memorandum of understanding, which is being hailed as historic by environmentalists.

An Indian delegation of MoEF officials will be going to China, during the first week of next month to strengthen the commitment. It will be India’s "big cats" and Tibetan antelope chiru, that will find special mention during the meeting of the Cites. As both chiru and tiger species are dwindling in China and India, the two countries have decided to mutually strengthen the conservation efforts.
"Till now, there were MoUs signed where other countries were also included. But this MoU is exclusively between India and China, therefore, efforts will be on mutual basis. We are losing our tigers and China is losing chiru. While China has the biggest market of tiger skins and bones, India has huge market of shahtoosh, even though both are illegal," said a senior official of the MoEF.

Both countries, though unofficially, maintain that there is a "barter system" going on between poachers for chiru wool and tigers parts. The next week’s scheduled meeting between the delegation and MoEF officials will try to plug the loopholes, including porous Indo-Tibet border, which are being utilised by hunters and poachers.

 

 

 

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