India destroys stockpile of illegal wildlife parts

2014-11-02 16:28
Indian authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India. (Tsering Topgyal, AP)

Indian authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India. (Tsering Topgyal, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Delhi - Indian authorities set fire on Sunday to a stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia.

Animal poaching and smuggling have flourished in India, driven by black market demand from China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries where many believe exotic animal parts have medicinal or aphrodisiacal properties. In most cases, there is no scientific evidence that they do.

Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar loaded more than 42 000 illegal animal parts into a large, blazing oven at the Delhi Zoo. The parts included tiger and leopard pelts, reptile skins, rhino horns and shawls made from endangered Tibetan antelope called shahtoosh.

Wildlife officials and members of the media crammed into the small room at the zoo to witness the inferno.

"The exercise is an attempt to deplore the unethical, indiscriminate and most unlawful activities of harvest and trade of wildlife products," the Environment Ministry said in a statement, linking India's future development with the health of its biodiversity.

Indian wildlife - already struggling with habitat loss due to the expansion of human settlements - has been hit hard by poachers and the illegal trade in animal parts.

India holds half of the world's estimated 3 200 wild tigers, but those numbers have declined drastically from the 5 000 - 7 000 tigers India was estimated to have had in the 1990s.

The once-obscure pangolin trade has soared, with at least 320 of the scaly mammals now seized from smugglers each year. Star tortoise seizures by customs officials have also shot up, from less than 800 a year before 1999 to more than 3 000 a year since 2002.

Read more on:    india  |  animals  |  poaching

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.