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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 12:54 GMT
Court censure for India zoos
Tiger at Ranthambore, India
India's tiger population has fallen drastically
By Jill McGivering in Delhi

India's Supreme Court has ordered that no new zoos should be set up in India without approval from the court and the Central Zoo Authority.

The reputation of India's zoos has been damaged by a series of high profile and embarrassing cases involving animals in the zoos and national parks.

The scandals have called into question the standard of protection received by zoo animals and led to investigations by the authorities.

tiger skin
Tiger skins fetch lucrative prices internationally
Last month, a young female tiger was killed in its cage and its skin removed.

Initial investigations suggested workers at the zoo may have been involved.

The sale of the tiger skin on the international market is likely to have fetched about $10,000.

Royal Bengal deaths

In July, the standard of medical care in zoos was questioned when 12 Royal Bengal tigers died in a zoo in the eastern state of Orissa.

They died shortly after being treated by zoo officials for an outbreak of disease. Many were rare white tigers.

These recent examples have now become part of a long running public litigation case which is also alleging that tigers inside government-run national parks are being hunted and poached on a large scale.

One judge said on Monday that India's zoos are being maintained in a pathetic state and as a result, no new zoos should be set up without prior permission from the court and the central zoo authority.

Fifty years ago, India had about 40,000 tigers in the wild.

Today, the population has fallen to about 5,000 - many of them in national parks.

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See also:

07 Oct 00 | South Asia
Poachers kill tiger in Indian zoo
29 Jul 00 | South Asia
Tiger toll rises at India zoo
18 Jan 00 | Sci/Tech
TV tigress feared dead
13 Jan 00 | South Asia
Tiger skin haul 'biggest ever'
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