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Monday, March 11, 2013

Delhi a tiger poaching hotspot: Report

TNN | Mar 11, 2013, 12.20 AM IST The report said, "This finding is also consistent with an examination of leopard seizures in which Delhi also emerged as the most important hub of illegal trade the country." RELATED Another arrest in tiger poaching case2 more held in tiger poaching caseScenic hotspots turn den of vicesPatnaites throng hotspots, splurge with gay abandonTwo suspended over tiger poaching in Pench buffer NEW DELHI: Delhi is not close to any of the tiger belts of the country, yet it figures among the five hotspots in India connected to big cat poaching, says a report by a global wildlife trade monitoring network and WWF. Tiger seizures in the capital are predominantly of skins, although there has been no big catch since 2005. The other four hotspots identified in the global report are: Ramnagar in Uttar Pradesh which sits close to the entrance of Corbett National Park, the towns of Balgahat and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh where Kanha and Pench National Parks are located, Kolkata and areas spanning south to the edge of the Sunderbans in Bengal and the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in the western ghats. On Delhi figuring in the list, the study says, "This finding is also consistent with an examination of leopard seizures in which Delhi also emerged as the most important hub of illegal trade the country, accounting for more than 26% of all leopards seized." The report was released by TRAFFIC, an organization that monitors wildlife trade, and WWF Tigers Alive Initiative. It is based on seizures of tigers and its body parts between 2000 and 2012 in 13 south Asian countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. According to the study, a total of 1,425 seizures were reported during the study period. India, which has the largest tiger population in the world, had the most cases at 336. Cambodia reported none. A total of 654 seizures of tiger parts ranging from skin to bones, to teeth, claws and skulls took place during this period — an average of 110 tigers killed for trade per year or just over two per week, states the report. India, it adds, is the only country which had kept sufficiently detailed seizure records to allow for meaningful analysis to identify the 'hotspots' where tiger trade was taking place. Natalia Pervushina, tiger trade programme leader for TRAFFIC and WWF, said that if more robust information was routinely collected, analyzed and shared between countries, real inroads could be made into targeting the smuggling syndicates behind the trafficking. WWF and TRAFFIC are urging countries engaged in the global tiger recovery programme to develop a harmonized process for reporting poaching cases. On the basis of tiger seizure hotspots, the report infers that the big cats are sourced from India and moved to other zones of distribution such as Nepal and Myanmar, where stocks are built up and transported to consumer countries. It adds. "Two of the identified hotspots in India - Ramnagar and Sunderbans - are in close proximity to Nepal and Bangladesh. This should be used to create leverage for developing and enhancing cross borders agreements.

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