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Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 14:40 GMT
India 'failing to protect tigers'
Tiger in forest
At least 100 tigers have been lost this year
By Mike Wooldridge in Delhi

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has alleged that lack of political support at the top of the Indian Government is fuelling the decline in the world's tiger population.

Tiger report
The group harshly criticised India's record
The agency's tiger campaigner, Peter Richardson, told a news conference in Delhi that at least 100 tigers were reported to have been lost in India this year.

He claimed this was due to the failure to set up a specialised unit to fight wildlife crime.

India's tiger population is believed to be down to around 3,500, largely because of poaching and the reduction of their natural habitat.

Recently, a young tigress was even killed in a zoological park.

Delhi backed a recommendation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) that a specialised unit should be set up in India to combat wildlife crime and tackle the illegal trade networks more effectively.

But this hasn't happened yet and the EIA's Peter Richardson claimed that the continuing tiger deaths were a direct consequence.

If Atal Behari Vajpayee failed to act, Mr Richardson suggested, the world would remember him as the prime minister who stood by and watched as the tiger died.

The director of the National Tiger Conservation Project said resources were a major problem but India was trying to save the tiger.

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See also:

20 Nov 00 | South Asia
Court censure for India zoos
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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