China has decided to allow sale of tiger bones and rhino horns.
Conservationists in India fear a significant increase in poaching as a result of China lifting a 25-year-old ban on trade in tiger bones and Rhino horns for "medicine and research purposes". They have called for strict plans to protect India's wildlife.
Beijing's decision will create an increase in demand for wildlife derivatives, risking animals in India — home to world's 70 percent of wild tigers and 85 per cent of single horned rhinos. The decision will also affect African countries, experts say.
Although China has set up about 6,000 tiger farms, products from there are not so much in demand as through poaching. "Tigers in the farms are much more expensive to obtain than those in wild. It is a proven fact that the consumers have demanded, and prefer wild tigers, for strength and power," Belinda Wright, wildlife conservationist and founder of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) told news agency IANS.
According to WWF officials, China is currently working to establish rhino farms and is planning to procure them from Nepal and other countires.
Ms Wright says that the announcement by China had affected years of efforts by wildlife campaigners to curb demand for wildlife articles.
"India needs to and will protect its tigers and rhinos. But we need more strict planning for that," says Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO of WWF-India.
WWF has urged China to rethink its decision.
Tiger bones and other parts are used in traditional chinese medicines, which have no clinically proven properties. Apart from Tigers and Rhinos, several other animals like Pangolin, leopard, clouded and snow leopards and bear are also preffered by Chinese black marketeers. The bones and other derivaties of some Asian cats like leopards are used for around 36 different products in China, including bone wine.
At least 134 rhinos and 180 tigers were confirmed poached in India between 2013 and 2017. The figures were based on seizures. Foresters, though, believe that actualy figures may be much higher.
"The Wildlife Justice Commission identified two parallel supply routes for illegal tiger trade, a trans-Himalayan route for wild and a Southeast Asian route for captive as well as wild, with the primary destinations China and, to a lesser extent, Viet Nam," an official document of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) mentions.