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China wants tiger parts trade made legal


16 May, 2007 
Abantika Ghosh/TIMES NEWS NETWORK

China is lobbying hard for Indian support for its plans to legalise trade in tiger parts to facilitate its traditional medicine industry.

An eight-member Chinese delegation of state forestry administration (SFA) officials on Tuesday met senior officials of the ministry of environment and forests to discuss the matter.

This is the second time China has sought Indian support for the plan, the first time being in November 2006 when a Chinese delegation had discussed the modalities of segregating "farm and wild products".

In Tuesday's meeting, the Chinese asked for a response to the proposal. The ministry refrained from giving an official response.

Sources in the ministry said that among the other items that came up for discussion were issues of general forestry, including joint afforestation efforts. The Chinese delegation is led by Li Yuchi, vice administrator, SFA. Among the Indian officials present in the meeting were MoEF DG G K Prasad, National Tiger Conservation Authority chief Rajesh Gopal, Wildlife Institute of India head P R Sinha and head of project elephant, A N Prasad.

Under pressure from its tiger farming lobby, the Chinese government is now building a case for lifting the ban for which India's support is crucial as the country is home to 50% of the wild tigers of the world.

During the fourth general assembly of the Global Tiger Forum held in Kathmandu last month, Chinese officials wrote to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) how the ban on trade in tiger parts had cost the economy $4 billion. Captive-bred tigers in Chinese farms, they claimed, could sustain the trade and replenish the wild stock.

Wildlife activists are meanwhile fuming over the fact that India has so far shied away from a unequivocal "no" to the proposal. "Lifting the ban will only increase poaching because you need $10,000 to raise a tiger in captivity and just Rs 40 worth of poison to kill it in the wild. It is morally outrageous for India to support lifting of the ban," said activist Belinda Wright.

Said former Project Tiger director P K Sen, "There is no way to limit the trade to only parts from captive tigers once it is legalised. Poaching will always be cheaper as these rackets cash in on the poverty in India. If the ministry agrees it will mean changing its 30 year stand. Releasing captive tigers in the wild is just a myth. It is impossible."






 

 

 

 

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