By meghna at 17 February, 2010, 10:58 pm
Tiger skin, guns, stuffed tigers and photographs of tiger assassination were thought to be signs of bravery by the kings and British in past. But today’s commercial society is concentrating on the extraction of profit from the tiger trade.
One of the main ingredients of the traditional Chinese medicine is tiger bones. The export for this oriental medicine started in mid-1980. Moreover there is a significant demand of the tiger skins in the international market. Interestingly in India there is no domestic demand of tiger skins or bones.
The Wildlife Protection Society of India claims that the tribal are involved in the hunting of this cat. They are offered prices ranging from a dollar to fifteen depending upon the methods by them to kill the tiger. According to Wildlife Protection Society of India, 27 tigers were killed in 2007, 29 were killed in 2008 and 32 killed in 2009. From 2000-09 India has lost about 417 tigers due to poaching. The involvement of forest officers cannot be ruled out either. In 1993-94, 36 tiger skins and 667 kilos (1470 pounds) of tiger bones were seized in northern India probably they were to be exported to China.
Ingredients like parts of plants, the leaf, stem, flower, root, animals and minerals are integral parts of the traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese demand for the use of parts of endangered animals like rhinoceros horns, seahorses and tiger bones and claws have escalated black marketing and poaching. In Asian cultures tiger is associated with potency. Thus there is huge demand for tiger penis and eyes which is presumed to cure virility. In October last year the tiger skin trade in China was exposed. The skins are used as luxury items for clothing and home decor. Officially buying and selling of body parts of animals is illegal in China. But in China the skin and other body parts of endangered animals are easily available.
Environmental Investigation Agency spokesperson Alasdair Cameron said that “We’re hoping to use the year of the tiger as a way to highlight the threats faced by the animal but traders in China are actually saying that next year is going to be great because people will want to get a piece of the tiger in the year of the tiger.” “There could actually be a spike in demand.”
Under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment or a fine (up to Rs. 25,000) or both. The act specifies that killing endangered animals may result in an imprisonment of seven years. Animals like Black buck None can deny that there is a need for strict implementation of anti-poaching laws. The ministry is now planning to amend the present Act. It has decided to involve local people (forest residents) to assist in the protection of wildlife.
The cooperation of Bhils has already proved instrumental in saving the Black Bucks. The ministry is also relocating families residing in the core areas of tiger reserves. It would be done with their prior consent. They would be duly compensated for the same. The Environment and Forest Ministry of India along with the Supreme Court have released the CAMPA fund that will aid in the regeneration, conservation and preservation of the forests. The establishment of a Green Tribunal is also on cards. It would work as a special environment court in which cases related to environment and forests would be tried. Increasing forest area by afforestation is also a part of the proposal. A tri-partite Memorandum of Agreement(MoU) between the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Tiger Reserve Management and State governments may be signed. It would definitely ensure effective tiger conservation.
Tiger is our national animal. We take pride in associating ourselves with it. But the present statistics reveal that we will soon lose the big cat. Probably then animals like donkey, rat, cats or dogs would be chosen to represent India. It is a disgrace us that we are unable to protect our national pride. I agree that the masses are unaware of the happenings in forest but they can certainly pressurize government to take some action. The amendment would surely help in preservation of the wildlife. But its implementation would surely be a concern.
We require an efficient vigilant authority which would monitor the effective functioning of the forest agencies. Let’s do every little thing to save our national animal. I seriously don’t want rat to represent the country just because it can produce up to 29,000 or more a year. Let’s make tiger the survivor and not a souvenir to the nation.