Over 1,000 tigers killed for skins, bones, claws in last 10 yrs

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Washington, Nov 10 (ANI): Parts of as many as 1,069 tigers have been seized in tiger range countries over the past decade, a new report has suggested.

According to the latest analysis of tiger seizures carried out by TRAFFIC-the wildlife trade monitoring network-on an average 104 to 119 animals have died per year in the last decade.

Reduced to Skin and Bones shows that from January 2000 to April 2010, parts of between 1,069 and 1,220 tigers were seized in 11 of the 13 tiger range countries.

Of the 11, India, China and Nepal ranked highest in the number of tiger part seizures, the report stated, with India by far the highest number of tiger part seizures at 276, representing between 469 and 533 tigers.

China, with 40, had the second highest number of seizures, or 116-124 tigers, and Nepal reported 39 seizures, or 113-130 tigers, according to the report.

"Given half the world's tigers live in India, it's no real surprise the country has the highest number of seizures, and while a high number of seizures could indicate high levels of trade or effective enforcement work, or a combination of both, it does highlight the nation's tigers are facing severe poaching pressure," said Pauline Verheij, joint TRAFFIC and WWF Tiger Trade Programme Manager.

"With parts of potentially more than 100 wild tigers actually seized each year, one can only speculate what the true numbers of animals are being plundered," said Verheij.

Tiger parts reported in trade ranged from complete skins, skeletons and even whole animals-live and dead, through to bones, meat, claws, teeth, skulls, penises and other body parts.

"Clearly enforcement efforts to date are either ineffective or an insufficient deterrent," said Mike Baltzer, leader of WWF's Tigers Alive initiative.

"Not only must the risk of getting caught increase significantly, but seizures and arrests must also be followed up by swift prosecution and adequate sentencing, reflecting the seriousness of crimes against tigers," he said.

The report comes as heads of governments from tiger range states prepare to meet at a tiger summit later this month in St. Petersburg, Russia to finalize the Global Tiger Recovery Program, a plan that aims to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. (ANI)

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