Twenty-eight tigers have been killed in India, three more than the whole of 2015.
Poor news hails from South Asia. According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, a conservation charity, 28 of the endangered creatures were poached by April 26, 2016 – three more than the whole of last year.
Considering that India is home to more than half of the world’s tiger population with 1,226 in its reserves (according to the last count in 2014), this news is beyond concerning. In fact, the census has raised doubts about the country’s anti-poaching efforts.
Said Tito Joseph, the group’s program manager:
“The stats are worrying indeed. Poaching can only be stopped when we have coordinated, intelligence-led enforcement operations, because citizens of many countries are involved in illegal wildlife trade. It’s a transnational organised crime.”
Though some have cited habitat loss as a reason the tigers are endangered, it is now known that the largest single threat to the future of wild tigers in India is humans. Reportedly, tiger meat and bones are used in traditional Chinese medicine, therefore, fetch a high price.
The Guardian reports that is not unusual for the beasts to be killed by guns, poison or even steel traps and electrocution. In fact, much of the tiger poaching is done by tribals who know their forests well. They are usually paid a meager amount (in a case near Kanha Tiger Reserve, in May 1994, a trader paid four poachers $15 each for killing a tiger), their hunting talents and knowledge exploited by greedy traders. It is these traders and the middlemen who make substantial profits from the illegal trade in tiger parts.
Undoubtedly, action needs to be taken before the majestic creatures are wiped out.
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