The tiger has lost almost 93% of its original habitat in the last 100 years and the greatest threat to the big cat population has come from human beings. Despite being listed as an endangered species by the IUCN, poaching (illegal hunting) continues to threaten tiger populations everywhere.
In 1972, the Wildlife (Protection) Act outlawed the hunting of animals for sport or shikar, which had become a British pastime in India. Trophies like tiger skin however, remain prized and the demand for various body parts for traditional Chinese medication practices means that the tiger continues to be hunted. Between 1994 and 2003, the Wildlife Protection Society of India recorded 684 cases of tiger poaching in India. Today, on the 3rd International Tiger Day, India has already reported 46 tiger deaths this year. That is only 26 fewer than the total number of deaths recorded last year. In the forty-first year of the law, India looks poised to touch a new high in the number of tiger deaths. Where did we go wrong?
(Image above is originally from kohlmann.sascha’s photostream on Flickr here and has been published here under a CC-BY SA 2.0 license.)
(Suhasini Rao-Kashyap is part of the faculty on myLaw.net.)