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European Politicians Call For Action to Stop the Tiger and Leopard Skin Trade

15th Feb., 2006


Strasbourg, 15th February 2006; Leading Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are calling on China, Nepal and India to increase efforts to break the smuggling networks involved in the international illegal trade of tiger and leopard skins.

In a Written Declaration, put down in Parliament, the MEPs expressed concern regarding the role of organised criminal networks engaged in trafficking tiger and leopard skins from India into China via Nepal, and have called on EU Member States to offer assistance to these countries to facilitate improved enforcement.

Speaking at a press conference today, Glyn Ford, Labour MEP for the South West of England, stated: “The only way that we can stop criminal gangs exterminating tigers and leopards is by joint, concerted government action by China, Nepal and India.”

Investigators from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) recently uncovered the huge market for skins in China and Tibet which is now the main factor driving the poaching of tigers in the wild. Costumes decorated with great swathes of tiger and leopard skin are being worn at festivals across the Tibetan Plateau region. EIA and WPSI witnessed hundreds of people at these festivals wearing costumes decorated with skins. They also brought back startling images of tiger and leopard skins openly for sale in shops and markets in Tibet and surrounding Chinese Provinces.

Belinda Wright, WPSI Executive Director, stated: “We are delighted that this Written Declaration has been put forward. It sends out a clear message to China, India and Nepal that the EU is concerned about the trade in tiger and leopard skins. Illegal trade is currently the biggest threat to the survival of India’s wild tigers and if no action is taken, it will mark the end of the tiger.”


For further information and images, please contact:
Belinda Wright, WPSI at Tel: 4163 5920 /21 /22 & mobile: 98 111 90690

Editor’s Notes:

* The Written Declaration on the illegal trade in tiger and leopard skins’ was tabled by Glyn Ford, Labour MEP for the South West of England, and David Martin, Labour MEP for Scotland.

* The declaration requires 372 MEP signatures by the 27th April 2006 before it can be entered into the minutes of Parliament.

* The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), based in London, is the world’s leading organisation dedicated to investigating and exposing environmental crime.

* The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) works closely with Indian enforcement authorities, providing actionable intelligence on tiger and leopard poaching and trafficking

 

 

 

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