By Simon Denyer
NEW DELHI, March 6 (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, has thrown a lifeline to India's dwindling tiger population after an emotional appeal to outlaw the trade in animal skins provoked an extraordinary reaction in his homeland.
Thousands of Tibetans attended the festival and many carried the Dalai Lama's words back to their Himalayan homeland.
Conservationists say there has been a sharp rise in the poaching of tigers and leopards in
"The reaction of the Tibetan people, now they have been made aware of the results of their actions -- it gives a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel for the Indian tiger," said Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.
An ancient tradition of wearing animal furs seemed to have been revived in
In January, the Dalai Lama said he was "ashamed" to see images of Tibetans decorating themselves with skins and furs.
"When you go back to your respective places, remember what I had said earlier and never use, sell, or buy wild animals, their products or derivatives," he asked pilgrims at the Kalachakra, an initiation ceremony for Buddhists in south
Chinese authorities initially reacted with suspicion to the burning of skins, apparently seeing it as an expression of support for the Dalai Lama, who fled his Himalayan homeland to
Eight Tibetans have been detained since late February in
But Wright said the Chinese had taken some steps to outlaw the multi-million dollar trade in the last few days, which had until now been carried on openly on the streets and in the markets of
"Frankly, the only country that hasn't reacted is
Wright said she saw 83 fresh Tiger skins and thousands of fresh leopard skins on a trip to
"I was numb," she said. "I thought that was the end. The wild population here cannot sustain that. It showed clearly that
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