of the Tiger: India raises poaching alarm, Beijing cool
THE INDIAN EXPRESS
Sinha, 31st August, 2009
New Delhi : WITH 2010 being the Chinese
'year of the tiger' 'which comes once in 12 years and when demand for
tiger and leopard parts shoots up' a team of Indian wildlife officials
will visit China in November to specifically discuss tiger and leopard
The meeting between officials drawn from the National
Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, and
Chinese officials was finalised during the visit of Minister of
Environment Jairam Ramesh to China this week.
trip, tiger poaching was one of the issues on agenda. In a written
statement to Chinese officials, his ministry submitted that one of
India's main concerns was that demand for tiger and leopard skins and
bones would go up in 2010. India also asked China to enforce a tiger
skin registration scheme and crack down on tiger trade through Nepal.
dialogue and enforcement on tiger conservation needs to be taken
forward. This is why a team from Project Tiger and wildlife enforcement
officers will be visiting China as a lot more needs to be done
especially in this year of the tiger,' Ramesh told The Indian Express.
ministry has also contended that China should restrict its tiger farms
as this creates a demand for Indian wild tiger products and has urged
China to keep a domestic tiger-trade ban in place.
Chinese response appears to be lukewarm. Responding to concerns of
tiger poaching for Chinese demand, the Chinese officials said India was
not doing enough to check Chiru (Tibetan Antelope) poaching. They also
said that there is no link between Chinese tiger farms and Indian tiger
Ramesh said he does not agree with China linking Chiru
poaching to that of the tiger. 'The case of poaching of the Chiru
antelope and the tiger are totally different things,' he said. The
statement submitted to China made the case that breeding tigers 'on a
commercial scale' was a serious threat to tiger conservation efforts.
It said that there are no techniques to distinguish a wild tiger part
from that of a farmed tiger. 'Raising a farmed tiger is 250 times more
expensive than poaching a wild tiger,' it said, inferring that poachers
will always prefer poaching wild tigers in India.
India has a
protocol on tiger conservation with China, which was signed in 1995.
One of the main planks of the protocol is joint conservation. However,
nothing has moved on the protocol and communication between the two
countries has been low.
India had asked China at the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) summit to shut
down large-scale tiger farms, and only keep the farms 'at a level
supportive of tiger conservation in the wild' (proceeds from these
tourist attractions are supposed to go to wild tiger conservation).
CITES has now asked China to file a report on its tiger farms and what
steps were being taken to restrict trade in tiger parts.