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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Rich haul of tiger body parts in Nepal shows increased threat to Indian tigers

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 18, 2013
First Published: 14:21 IST(18/2/2013) | Last Updated: 14:24 IST(18/2/2013)

Poachers killing tigers for money are back with vengeance with seizure of at-least seven tiger skins and over 160 kilogram of tiger bones in the Tibet-Nepal border hinting at revival of the popular smuggling route into China.

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Three major tiger and leopard body part hauls in different districts of Nepal in the month of January has triggered panic among the wildlifers who claim that the recent seizures show that the magnitude of tiger killing in India is much more than reflected in the government's official records.

The government has claimed that around 80 tigers were killed in India including for poaching in 2012 whereas the seizures of tiger body parts in the year was much higher.

The biggest hauls of recent times came on January 12 when on 12 Nepal police seized five tiger skins and about 114 kilograms of tiger bones in bags in Nawakot district very close to Tibet border. The body parts were to be smuggled into Tiger in a van for the underground Chinese big cat medicine industry and two persons were arrested in this connection. The tiger skins and plastic bags containing bones were hidden under rice sacks in the van. 

A day earlier, in Gorkha district about 160 km west from capital city of Kathmandu, Nepal police arrested some Tibetans with two tiger skins and 53 kilograms of tiger bones. They were arrested while they were trying to smuggle the tiger parts to Tibet, China, officials said.

On January 27, the Nepalese authorities seized three leopard skins in Kanchanpur district of Nepal, which is very close to a home of tigers in India, Uttarakhand. Tigers in Corbett National Park in the state had been under stress for some time because of increasing poaching threat in the tiger reserve having highest tiger density in the country.

Anil Baluni, former vice-chairperson of Uttarakhand Forest Advisory body, said the tiger syndicates were operating in Nepal and the Indian government has not effectively taken the issue with the Nepalese government to crush these organised groups in the area of wildlife crime. "There is a sense that smuggling of tiger body parts into Nepal has become easy in the last few months," he said.

The seizures in Nepal had some sort of relation with highest deaths of tigers in India in a decade. As many as 89 tigers died in 2012 in 41 notified tiger homes in India with poaching incidents reported from reserves in Maharashtra to Kerala and Assam.


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