Tiger skins, bones fetch $5 mn annually in black market

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

St. Petersburg, Nov 23 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Poachers sell about 150 tiger skins every year and the annual turnover of tiger skins and bones in the black market across the globe is some $5 million, a UN official has said.

“150 tiger skins and 150 kg of tiger bones are sold on the black market annually. In 2009, one (tiger) skin cost $20,000 and a kg of bones - $1,200,” said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of United Nations office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The wild cats have been steadily pushed to the verge of extinction by poaching, illegal trade, and habitat loss, Fedotov said. About 150 tigers are killed by poachers every year, which is about 5 percent of world’s tiger population.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) plans to spend $85 million in the next five years on programmes aimed at restoring the global tiger population, WWF head James Leape said at the International Tiger Conservation Forum Monday.

According to the WWF, about 3,200 tigers are left worldwide. A century ago, there were some 100,000 wild tigers across Asia and the Russian Far East.

The International Tiger Conservation Forum, hosted by the northwestern Russian city of St. Petersburg running Nov 21-24, is discussing a plan to double the animal’s population in 12 years, which will require up to $350 million from the international community.

Keshav Varma, the director of the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), called on the international community Monday to donate more money to save the tigers.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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