Monday, November 06, 2006

India, China discuss pact to save tigers from extinction

Fri Nov 3, 12:12 PM ET

India, home to a dwindling tiger population, and China, which has a black market for tiger parts used in traditional medicine, are discussing an accord to save the endangered big cat, a senior official said.

A Chinese delegation was in New Delhi last week to finalise details of the accord, said the environment ministry official, who wished to remain unnamed.

"We are still in at the stage of dialogue, nothing has been finalised as yet," the official told AFP on Friday.

He did not give any details about the proposed pact, which he said had been under discussion for some time.

But a report in the Indian Express on Friday said key elements of the pact included better vigilance along the borders to clamp down on the illegal trafficking of tiger parts and the training of Chinese personnel at the premier Dehradun Wildlife Institute of India.

The Asian giants have been under fire from international experts for not clamping down on tiger poaching, with conservationists blaming collusion between poachers, government officials and buyers.

Tiger hunting is illegal worldwide and both India and China have signed a treaty binding 167 countries that bans trade in tiger skins, claws and other products often sought for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

In September, the Wildlife Protection Agency and Environment Investigation Agency estimated that India's tiger population was at an all time low of 1,500 to 2,000.

The route for the illegal trade runs through Chinese-ruled Tibet despite laws banning the trade. indiachinaenvironmentwildlifetigers_061103171205

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