Two non-Governmental organizations asserted that despite international condemnation and demands, trade in tiger and derivative products continue unabated and overtly in China for costumes and medicines and suppliers are mostly Indian poachers. The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) and Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and sent teams to mainland China and Tibet and were aghast at shops, even in large hotels, openly displaying tiger and leopard skins and had all the tanning and processing “methods used by Indian poachers.”
The organizations say that lax enforcement of poaching has resulted in poachers trapping the large cats using traditional means and killing them and dismantling the body within 30 minutes. Later, the skins and body parts are sold independently making it harder to track down. Apparently, the traders told the visiting team that the tiger products are sourced from India which is then trafficked into Tibet via Nepal .
To highlight the gravity of the situation Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited a major Tiger reserve. While the Environment Ministry continues to pay lip service and even announce grand scheme such as getting the Army to track down poachers and also train border troops to identify environmental derivative products, it continues to not fund such efforts. There is every indication that Project Tiger, often portrayed as India’s prestigious conservation initiative is a resounding failure because of lack of funding, seriousness of the political class, and lack of cooperation between Ministries. WPSI says that at least 10 tiger reserves in India are “critical” and may soon be without tigers.
Ironically, the tiger is India ’s national animal.