India is home to many gorgeous, rare and exotic animals. But poachers don’t really care about that. Recently in India, there have been several outbreaks of illegal hunting and the wildlife there are on the brink of extinction.
These animals are:
- The shahtoosh– to us in the United States it’s a kind of antelope. Shahtoosh are killed for shawls. Three to four are killed to produce one shawl, and their population has dropped from one million to around 70,000.
- Elephants– even though it is banned, the profit of an elephant’s tusk apparently outweighs the fear of getting thrown in jail.
- The Olive Ridley turtle– there is a beach in India that hosts the largest nesting site for these turtles. They are killed for their meat and leather, and there are no laws to protect them due to lack of funds.
- Other animals that are being poached are birds, frogs, exotic butterflies, peacocks and tigers.
But here recently, the two Indian animals that are gaining a lot of media attention are the tigers and one-horned rhinoceroses.
Just six days ago, on September 28th, 2012, USA Today had a story about how poachers have shot the 4th rare rhino in Northwest India. India is home to the worlds largest rhino concentration. Poachers took advantage of the flooding that happened that week and shot 2 rhinos and this has sparked outrage by many locals. Rhino horn powder is in high demand in some Asian countries as medicine or an aphrodisiac. This doesn’t matter to Indian Environment and Forest Minister, Jayanti Natarajan, who assured the local that she is “determined to ensure that these criminals are brought to justice.” And it looks like she is keeping her promise and doing everything possible to protect these rare animals.
Here is a report by The Telegraph explaining how India is now setting up a protection force in their national parks for the rhinos. The Telegraph
But there are some poachers who could care less about protection forces. On September 26, 2012, BBC News reported on how Indian police are looking for a group of poachers who entered a high security zoo and killed a tiger. Apparently poacher smuggling out tiger parts are common in India. Their parts are valued in East Asia and China. Ten years ago, there was an estimate of 100,000 tigers living in India. As of 2011, there are now about 1,700.
Leopards are also in danger. According to a recent report, there are at least four leopards poached every week in India. This cat plays a big part in the economy and is also supposed to be protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Experts are crying out saying that a task force needs to be created in places where there are high rates of leopard poaching.
(Here’s my favorite part!) But animals are not the only one in India who are looking down a barrel. The government there are pretty much tired of poachers, and in Maharashtra, forest guards are allowed to shoot hunters on sight. Furthermore, they say that injuring or killing poachers will NOT be considered a crime. Here is the NPR and CBS report explaining this: NPR Report and CBS Report
As you see here, India has a big problem with poachers but they are doing everything they can do….literally…to stop them. But it’s very nice to see that they don’t have a problem with getting no media attention about it. I applaud the media for shining a light on the poaching problem there.
And I just saw this. This was posted a couple of hours ago. Arrests made