8 Sep :The illegal trade in wildlife is a global issue. From animal parts like tiger bones and musk glands to live reptiles, birds and ivory, poachers and smugglers illegally poach and traffic a variety of wild plants and animal species. The two major categories of traded items are live specimens of wildlife species and products derived from wildlife species.
The wildlife products mostly traded illegally from the country are musk, ivory, rhino horns, tiger and leopard skins, pet trade and feather for decoration; turtles for meat and soups and Tibetan antelope for shawls.
About 250 native species are trapped in India and traded mainly for pet, food, zoo, medicine, black magic falconry and taxidermy. Millions of birds are caged for trade of which two thirds die during capture or during transportation.
India is signatory to several international Convention concerning wild-life matters such as The Convention on international trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ,Convention of Conservation of Migratory Species etc. Few legal provisions have been made in the country for conservation of the birds are Indian Forest Act,1927,Forest (Conservation) Act and Wildlife Protection Act,1972.
.Important animals from India involved in the wildlife trade are:
TIGER – The problem of tiger poaching has come into the limelight because of a number of seizures of tiger skins, bones and other body parts, which took high demand for tiger parts, which are used in oriental medicine in countries like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand etc.
ELEPHANT – Carving of ivory is a traditional cottage industry in South India. the spurt in prices of ivory has been mainly responsible for killing of elephants in India. It is alleged that poachers do not hesitate to shoot even young elephants down to 5 years of age, which carry tusks of about 2.5 kg. a piece only. This type of systematic and sustained poaching of tuskers appeared to affect even the genetic potential and sex ration of the species.
TIBETAN ANTELOPE OR CHIRU – The famous Shahtoosh shawls are woven from the under wool of this animal which has to be killed in order to derive the wool. This animal is migratory and was once found in large numbers in summers in the northeastern corner of Ladakh. Their numbers have now come down to a few hundreds, though they are still found in large numbers in the Tibetan Plateau.
LIVE BIRDS – Around 250 native species are trapped in India and traded mainly for the following purpose: pet, food, zoo, medicine, black magic falconry and taxidermy. Millions of birds are caged for trade of which two thirds die during capture or during transportation.
RHINOCEROS – This animal is now on the endangered list mainly due to the trade in rhino horn. The horn fetches about 200,000 to 300,000 rupees in India and much more in the international market. Its meat and bones are also used for medicinal purpose in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Rhino population in India faces threat of poaching because of the mythical properties attributed to its horn and its astronomical prices in the international market. As the economic incentive is provided by the prices of Rhino horn, large number of Rhinos are killed every year inspite of serious efforts on the part of the Assam Government of safeguard against poaching of these species.