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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

‘Maharashtra a hotspot for tiger poaching globally’: UN CITES Report

India recorded the largest overall number of seizures (463) and was identified as the world’s tiger poaching hub.

mumbai Updated: Aug 23, 2019 03:56 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The smuggled tiger parts include skin, bones, nails and whole carcasses. The report states that Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are global tiger trafficking hotspots.
The smuggled tiger parts include skin, bones, nails and whole carcasses. The report states that Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are global tiger trafficking hotspots. (HT FILE)
         

Maharashtra has been identified as a hotspot for tiger poaching globally, after the state recorded the highest number of tiger body part seizures in the world between 2000 and 2018.

A report was released by wildlife conservation group Traffic on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nation’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The smuggled tiger parts include skin, bones, nails and whole carcasses. The report states that Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are global tiger trafficking hotspots.

India recorded the largest overall number of seizures (463) and was identified as the world’s tiger poaching hub. Maharashtra recorded 60 seizures, accounting for 13% of the cases in India, and 5.4% of global smuggling incidents over 19 years.

Principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Nitin Kakodkar said since Maharashtra has one of the highest tiger populations, such cases were bound to happen but vigilance ensured proper detection. “The threat from poaching is always there and we cannot be complacent. Although this study talks about last 20 years, it is a fact that there are poachers operating in an organised manner. In the recent past there have been good convictions with kingpins coming under the scanner, and tackling these issues will help in the long run,” he said.

Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP) placed second and third, accounting for 11.8% seizures in India and 4.7% of the global tally.

“This report is extremely important from the local as well as the global standpoint regarding what is happening to tigers,” said Saket Badola, country head, Traffic India. “The seizures report for Maharashtra is concerning as it is the highest in the world. We need to dig deep into this to understand the pattern of poaching over the years. However, we must remember that while poaching is there, rise in seizures indicates enforcement is improving.”

While Maharashtra led the incidents of seizures, the estimated number of tigers in the state that were killed to obtain these body parts is 64 individuals. UP, with 133 killings, had the highest number of poaching incidents followed by MP at 71 individuals.

According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), 119 tigers died between 2012 and 2019 (August) with 24 poaching cases, seven body parts seizures, and 21 cases under scrutiny. The remaining cases involved natural and or unnatural deaths not attributable to poaching.

“Every case in Maharashtra and MP is being detected and investigated properly by state forest departments, tiger cells, crime units, and the Special Tiger Protection Force. Combing operations and preventive action have further worked as deterrents,” said Nishant Verma, deputy inspector general of forests, NTCA.

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 00:03 IST

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