Saturday, 10 November 2012

Tiger Tourism in India - I


I’ve been researching tiger tourism for a magazine article & what a mess India has allowed the issue to become.

There’s a real possibility that in the not too distant future tigers will only exist in zoos.

But even zoos are not safe places for tigers. This September in India’s north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh a gang of poachers managed to enter a high-security zoo in the capital and hack a tiger to death.

They choose a time when all three security guards decided to go to lunch together, leaving the animals unprotected. Poachers were free to enter the zoo, tranquillise the six-year-old tigress & then cut her to pieces whilst she was unconscious.

The Zoo chief, Zoram Dopum, said that the poachers fled when the ‘hapless’ security guards returned - but no one has been identified, captured or prosecuted for the slaughter.

The growing wealth in China & southeast Asia has seen demand for dead tiger products skyrocket. Tiger skins fetch $20,000, bones sell for $1,200 per kilogram and a whole animal would retail at $30,000.

Poaching is rampant and is the primary cause of the year on year decline in tiger numbers – there are even some tiger reserves where resident tigers have been poached to extinction.

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