|Ban on Chinese trade only way to secure future of tigers: Belinda Wright
By Biplob Ghosal
Jan. 24, 2015
a magnificent creature, is one of the most important constituents of
the ecosystem. However the big cats are facing the threat of extinction
due to unabated hunting for greed of money, despite global conservation
While population of tigers is facing a threat globally,
that in India is estimated to be around 2,226, a rise of over 30
percent since the last count in 2010, according to the latest census
In an exclusive interview, Belinda Wright, one of
India`s leading wildlife conservationists, shares her views with Biplob
Ghosal of Zee Media Corp on several issues ranging from reasons behind
significant surge in tiger population and the Chinese connection to
illegal trade and poaching of tigers.
Belinda Wright founded the Wildlife Protection Society of India in 1994.
organisation helps avert India`s wildlife crisis by providing support
and information to combat poaching and the escalating illegal wildlife
Biplob: The latest Census shows tiger population has
increased by 30 percent in the last three years. How do you view this
Belinda: This is very good news for tigers and for India.
What according to you has helped achieve a rise in tiger numbers? Have
government actions over the past few years yielded results?
There has certainly been a lot more focus and funding by the government
on better field patrolling and protection, scientific monitoring and
village relocation, not to mention increasing the number of tiger
reserves to 47. NGOs have also played an important role, assisting in
resources and equipment, enforcement efforts with training and
intelligence, legal interventions, village relocation, etc. But without
casting aspersions on the results, it is still not clear to me what has
changed so dramatically on the ground to cause such an increase in
tiger numbers. Is it possible that the dramatic rise might actually be
due to tiger habitats being covered in a lot more detail, resulting in
a more accurate count?
Biplob: Illegal trading of tiger body
parts is still rampant in India. Can you throw some light on this
illegal business and the Tibet connection?
Belinda: In 2014,
tiger poaching and tiger part seizures still accounted for 28 percent
of all known tiger deaths, so clearly the trade in tiger parts is still
a serious threat to the future of wild tigers. India needs to send a
strong and encouraging message to China to make a commitment to end all
trade in all tiger parts and products, from all sources, wild and
captive. Without reduction in the demand for tiger parts and effective
law enforcement in both India and China it will be very difficult to
protect tigers. Indeed, tiger farming and legal trade in tiger parts in
China make this virtually impossible. A total ban from China would be
the single biggest contribution to securing a future for wild tigers.