| Snow Leopard Seizure
29th August, 2003
According to preliminary
reports, a Special Operations Group team of the Pithoragarh
Police seized one leopard skin and one snow leopard
skin from a poacher. Acting on intelligence gathered,
constables Azab Singh and Pervez Alam, lead by Mr. Sudhir
Kumar, arrested the poacher on 28 August at Rai bridge
on the Pithoragarh-Dharchula road.
Investigations suggest that the poacher
killed the animals in Sikher forests of Uttaranchal
three months ago. The skins were cleaned locally and
were to be delivered to a Delhi-based trader.
In the last year there has been clear
evidence suggesting an increased demand for snow leopard
skins. A study by TRAFFIC International shows that the
species and its parts are illegally traded in all twelve
range countries, though the driving forces behind the
killings vary from region to region.
In Afghanistan the fur trade has gone
up by an estimated 60% and the interest shown by the
international troops stationed in the country could
well ensure the extinction of the snow leopard there.
Moreover, the crackdown on the illegal tiger bone trade
has led to an increased demand for snow leopard bones
by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners.