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Tiger Conservation in a "Globalized" World: Tying Humans, Forests, and Tigers Together

Ross Hammersley


Animal Legal & Historical Center
Publish Date:
2006
Place of Publication: Michigan State University College of Law
Printable Version

Tiger Conservation in a "Globalized" World: Tying Humans, Forests, and Tigers Together

TIGER CONSERVATION IN A “GLOBALIZED” WORLD: TYING HUMANS, FORESTS, AND TIGERS TOGETHER

 

Ross Hammersley*

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

I.           Governing Statutes

A.     India’s Wildlife Protection Act (1976)

B.     CITES

II.        Pressures on the Tiger & its Habitat

A.     Demand for Tiger Bones, Skin, and Meat

B.     Forest and Land Management in India 

C.     Beginning to Turn the Corner 

III.      Recommendations for India, at Home, and Abroad

A.     Proposals for India

B.     Proposals for the United States

C.     Proposals for Reducing Demand in Asia

Conclusion

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Having survived the first major crisis in tiger population in the 1970’s, the world awakens today to a new age of dire circumstances for one of its most majestic cats.  While Asian economies and the population of the Indian subcontinent continue to boom, this new age, if left unchecked, could see an increase in black-market harvesting of tigers and a simultaneous decrease in the habitat that is so critical to their survival.  Although it is fortunate that the first crisis resulted in the listing of the tiger in Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species,[1] as well as the adoption of legislation providing for domestic protection of endangered species in India and elsewhere, these statutory schemes are currently not proving adequate to protect the world’s tigers.[2]  At the local level, India’s domestic statutes have recently seen a severe decline in enforcement, if not outright abandonment.  At the same time, the black-market is feeding a growing demand for tiger parts in booming Asian economies with wealthier citizens who are now able to afford such items.  Since the last century saw the decimation of roughly 95% of the total tiger population,[3] it is clear that these new pressures put the fate of this unmistakable and irreplaceable animal in the hands of the current generation of conservationists around the world.

This Paper will discuss the current trends in tiger conservation and management.  Part I will discuss the statutory protections afforded to tigers in India’s Wildlife Protection Act and the operation of CITES.  Part II will cover the primary reasons for renewed concern over the fate of the tiger, focusing on the demand for Asian medicines and other tiger derivatives.  This Part will also discuss the current state of conservation efforts in India, focusing on how nearby rural villages have been affected by the establishment of the tiger reserves and wildlife conservation areas in India.  Finally, Part III will propose some ways to begin to curb some of the demand in the international tiger derivative market and to improve community involvement and enforcement of India’s current regulations, as well as exploring potential avenues for strengthening aid efforts from and within the United States.

 

I.                    Governing Statutes

 

A.     India’s Wildlife Protection Act

 

Passage of the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972 made India “the world leader in tiger conservation”[4] by instituting a prohibition on the hunting of wild animals listed in Schedule I of the Act, including tigers.[5]  The Act does include some exceptions in Sections 11 and 12, allowing the killing of wild animals that have become diseased or disabled beyond recovery and those that are dangerous to human life, as well as allowing for a culling of animals for scientific research or management.  However, generally, the killing of tigers is prohibited in India.

The enforcement of the Act is not specifically provided for within its provisions, but has historically been conducted by local police forces based near the tiger preserves whose work has tended to be primarily reactive and limited in scope.[6]  Criminal prosecution of the few poachers who have been occasionally captured tends to be minimal and the fines and penalties levied have failed to deter the actions of the poachers to any significant degree.[7]  There are efforts underway in India to increase the resources allocated to proactive protection of tigers by establishing national enforcement units, trained by Interpol and the CITES Secretariat, and those modernization efforts will be discussed, infra, in Part III.

In 1973, the Government of India sponsored the creation of Project Tiger, initially setting aside nine tiger reserves based on the habitat requirements of the tigers and on generally important ecological values of certain wilderness areas.[8]  The strategy for establishing these reserves is commonly referred to as a “core-buffer” strategy, which involves “[e]limination of all forms of human exploitation and disturbance from the core and rationalization of such activities in the buffer.”[9]  Unfortunately, this strategy has proven to be, at least to a certain extent, both divisive and misleading; it is divisive in its implementation in rural areas because of what it has taken away from villagers who depended upon the forests for food and other resources, and it is misleading in that some large-scale mining and other development has taken place within buffer zones (even within the heart of the Jamwa Ramgarh wildlife sanctuary) while the local villagers were kept out.[10]  (These problems are discussed further in Section II.)  While there are some encouraging signs that the Indian Government is taking steps to ameliorate many of the failings of its strategy,[11] it goes without saying that the bottom line for the tiger is that these problems with the enforcement of the Indian conservation programs simply must be sorted out in order to prevent extinction.

 

B.     CITES

 

The CITES convention operates by banning the trade in certain endangered species without prior approval from the exporting and importing countries.[12]  The convention’s prohibition on trade and its corresponding permit system requirements operate based on CITES Appendices I, II, and III.[13]  These appendices operate on a graduated scale, with the most protection being granted to animals and plants listed on Appendix I.[14]  Permits are required from both the exporting country and the importing country, and neither may grant a permit “if the transport of the particular species will be detrimental to its survival.”[15]  Species are listed under Appendix II due to concerns that they may become endangered if trade continues without restrictions, and therefore the exporting country must issue a permit, ostensibly granting permits only when it has determined that exporting a particular specimen will not be detrimental to the species’ survival.[16]  This export permit must be displayed to officials of the importing country, but an import permit is not required.[17]  Finally, under Appendix III, species are listed in order to prevent exploitation, and “[t]rade of category three species requires export permits as well as certificates of origin at the country of import.”[18] 

India became a signatory to CITES in 1976, and was relatively successful in stemming the tide of the loss of tigers being poached for their skins until the late 1980’s.[19]  All tigers were listed on Appendix I by agreement of the Parties in 1975, except for the Siberian Tiger, which was subsequently included in 1987.[20]  While India was an early signatory, as were Pakistan and Nepal, which both signed within a year of the treaty taking effect, other countries such as Japan and China, where the demand for tiger products are the highest, waited until the early 1980’s to sign, and still other Asian countries, such as Korea and Vietnam, waited into the 1990’s.[21]  In addition, domestic regulations in China and Japan that provide for the protection of tigers and officially ban the sale of tiger bones and derivatives have taken even longer to come into being; legislation banning the trade in endangered species was not put into force until 1993 and 1995, respectively.[22]  The enforcement of these provisions in China and Japan is suspect, as one might predict due to the intense demand for such products in those countries.[23]  In fact, the passage of Resolution 9.13 at the CITES 1997 Conference of the Parties (CoP), “urging all Parties to consider introducing measures to facilitate implementation of CITES, such as voluntarily prohibiting domestic trade in Tiger parts and derivatives,” seems to recognize that even these relatively recent provisions (enacted less than 5 years before) had failed to go far enough in preventing the trade in such goods to continue.[24]  While the potential for progress in these countries remains, it is important to fully understand the scope of the demand for such products, as well as the human impacts on the habitat of the tiger, that threaten to squeeze it out of existence.

 

 

II.                 Pressures on the Tiger & its Habitat

 

Over the past 60 years, three sub-species of tigers have become extinct, while five sub-species remain.[25]  While estimates of the numbers of individual tigers surviving in the wild vary between five and seven thousand, the total number is unknown.[26]  What is known is that the dual pressures of continued poaching and encroachment of human development on the tiger’s habitat both serve to threaten the survival of wild tigers, despite the various treaties and statutes designed to protect them.[27]

 

 

A.     Demand for Tiger Bones, Skin, and Meat

 

The primary threat to tigers, i.e., the one most likely to cause their extinction within the next 20 years, is the poaching of tigers for their skins and body parts, and their subsequent sale into Asian markets.  Using both guns and metal traps, poachers are able to kill tigers and sell them into wildlife smuggling circuits for between 40,000 and 60,000 Rupees (between $900 and $1,300 US).[28]  Countries such as China, Hong Kong, and Japan import tons of tiger products, which primarily consist of tiger bones for expensive medicines, tiger meat, male tiger genitals for certain soups, tiger bone wine, and other derivatives.[29] 

The tigers are primarily taken from India, where their numbers remain the highest,[30] and continue to be traded via traditional routes through Nepal and Tibet on their way to China, a country with a huge impact on the ultimate outcome of tiger conservation efforts.[31]  “China is the main supplier of traditional Chinese medicines for Chinese communities throughout the world. … Hong Kong [serves as] a trading post between China and the rest of the world for Chinese products,”[32] which have turned up in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Belgium, but also in a country described as “[o]ne of the biggest consumers of Chinese tiger medicines”; Japan.[33]  Because these traditional Chinese medicines and novelty products such as tiger penis soup are considered symbols of wealth and virility, Japanese pharmacies routinely stock tiger products.[34] 

 

 

B.     Forest and Land Management in India

 

In addition to the growing demand for tiger products, the pressure that is brought to bear on tigers’ habitat in India is also increasing rapidly, and again, as a corollary to globalization and the expansion of the Indian economy.  However, to ascribe all of the current problems in tiger conservation to the globalization of Asian economies and of tiger products would be a mistake.  In understanding how India will need to improve its conservation and wildlife management practices, it is necessary to take a look back at how the management of its forests and other natural areas have evolved throughout the history of the country.

Over the past century, land held in India has evolved from what “was once a conglomeration of a number of small princely states with diverse ways of dealing with forestry,”[35] to the more centralized system of tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries described in Part I.A. above.

 

The former princely states had their own rights and concessions for the local inhabitants. These rights continued even after the merger. With the rise in human and cattle population, the community pressure on the forests increased appreciably. It increased further with the growing demand for forest produce, commercial and industrial wood, minor forest produce and the resultant encroachment. Forests were overused and abused leading to their degradation.[36]

 

This overuse has continued to this day, as a “large tribal population and thousands of forest villagers inhabit[] the same range as tigers.”[37]  For instance, the area in and around the Bandhavgarh National Park and Tiger Reserve is home to roughly 30,000 people, with some living in the 14 villages within the park, but likely many more residing the 73 villages lying just outside the park’s boundaries.[38]  These are primarily villages of extreme poverty, and while a few survive with subsistence farming, many of their inhabitants rely on the resources of the forest for their livelihood; an “economic dependence … [that] has not been replaced by any other significant income source [following establishment of the sanctuary and the corresponding ban on access], leaving villagers with little alternative to illegal entry,” and to a “general[] distrust [of] the Forest Department, viewing it as an enemy blocking their access to the plentiful and formerly available resources of the forest.”[39]  Perceptions of corruption among Forest Department officials,[40] favoritism for large corporate interests, such as mining and timber companies,[41] and resource draining to outside tourist companies who deflect little of their profits back to the park communities,[42] have all combined to produce local conditions that are adverse to fostering a long-term, locally-administered conservation program.  Without significant changes, when one considers these local conditions with the aforementioned increase in demand for tiger products, the long-term preservation of India’s tigers may indeed be a challenge.

 

C. Beginning to Turn the Corner

 

Fortunately for the tiger, there have been some recent developments, both in India and internationally, that may bode well for its future.  First, this past March, the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, gave the green-light to finalize an inter-agency wildlife crime enforcement unit.[43]  Secondly, the Tiger Task Force submitted a report to the Prime Minister in August that contains an “action agenda” calling for renewed efforts both against poaching and towards more cooperative and beneficial relations with the communities surrounding the tiger reserves.[44]  Third, in addition to placing his National Wildlife Crime Bureau proposal before his Cabinet in October, the Prime Minister directed “the three paramilitary forces entrusted with border security … [along the Indo-Tibetan, Indo-Nepalese, & Indo-Chinese borders to] be trained to detect cross border smuggling of wildlife articles,” and also drew up plans to take the issue up “with the authorities in China and Nepal through diplomatic channels.”[45]  Fourth, the Indian Supreme Court recently affirmed the inviolability of the Corbett Tiger Reserve by preventing the construction of a proposed highway that would have bisected the Reserve.[46]

These changes are significant, primarily because of their insightful focus towards addressing the root of several of the previously mentioned problems facing India’s efforts to conserve its dwindling tiger population.  Other positive developments have taken place internationally, such as the recent announcement of over $323,000 in grants to various non-governmental organizations operating in India from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), all of which are focused on addressing many of these same concerns.[47]  In order for these efforts to bear the maximum amount of fruit possible, this recent spate of good news and positive momentum must merely be the first step on the road to long-term success of tiger conservation efforts in India.  The following presents some potential recommendations for further investment, statutory amendment, and public relations.

 

 

III.               Recommendations for India, at Home, and Abroad

 

A.     Proposals for India

 

It seems that Dr. Singh has truly begun to right the ship, so to speak, and put India back on course towards the long-term survival of the Indian tigers.  However, there is much that remains to be done and the following proposals, if not currently under consideration by the Government of India, could perhaps be melded into the country’s long-term wildlife conservation plans.  These proposals take a dual approach to address both the shortcomings in enforcement and the degree to which villages and communities have not been keen to support their local tiger preserves or wildlife sanctuaries.

First, the success of the Prime Minister’s drive to establish a National Wildlife Crime Bureau (NWCB) initiative is crucial in order to provide a centralized hub for information, training resources, and technological and scientific support.  However, it will be necessary for the staff to be based in the field, at each of the reserves and sanctuaries, rather than in New Delhi or Calcutta, only to be dispatched upon learning of a problem.  These officers, if established as separate from the currently existing Department of Forestry, will need to cultivate the respect and trust of their counterparts in that Department to gain a full understanding of the local tiger population and how best to protect them, as well as the respect and trust of the local villagers in order to be effective in preventing poaching before it starts.  Clearly a staff based in another region will be more of a follow-up crew, constantly working in pursuit of poachers and illegal traffickers in tiger derivatives, rather than receiving tips and catching poachers in the act.  The centralization of some resources, rather than staff, will be advantageous however, as a database of “wildlife criminals” would likely enable greater success in long-term investigations. 

Second, and quite closely tied to the first, is that the level of funding for this new bureau must be commensurate with the lofty rhetoric used in the recent months by the Prime Minister and the Director of Project Tiger.  While the grant monies from the United States will hopefully help in providing some training, equipment, and local assistance, and while some non-governmental organizations may be able to facilitate some data sharing, as well as some localized funding, this new bureau will have to be well-funded by the Indian Government over the long-term.  Because the poachers and their networks are well-funded and organized, the Indian Government simply cannot allow it to be more attractive for an officer in the NWCB to take a bribe or kick-back from a poacher than to do his job with honor and uphold the law against killing tigers.  Ideally, the centralization of the Bureau will allow for some discretion on behalf of its director when allocating funds to different regions, in order to ensure that poaching or trafficking “hot-spots” are not neglected.  However, at the same time, integrity and honor must be instilled in the staff of this new Bureau in order to help recover the perception of the public that these officials are not being bought off. 

Thirdly, as suggested by the Tiger Task Force,[48] the Wildlife Protection Act should be amended to include some teeth.  There are specific procedures relating to the insertion of criminal penalty provisions, specific investigatory powers of enforcement officials, trial procedures, and special provisions to compound penalties for repeat violators that are all provided in excellent detail in the report of the Tiger Task Force,[49] so they will not be detailed here.  These provisions should be enacted with haste, however, as time is of the essence when it comes to preventing the extinction of this great species.

Finally, in order to move beyond these emergency-type measures to more long-term conservation, the Government will need to provide its own support to the villages in and around the tiger preserves. Protection of the tiger’s habitat is also crucial to India’s development, as these forests are the primary watersheds for the country’s water supply, so citizens will need to be educated on the importance of sound management of these ecosystems.  Changing minds will be a slow and arduous process, but these communities must be afforded some of the benefits of sustaining the tiger in the wild, rather than simply see tourists, mining companies, and poachers tromp in and out of the forests they use to be able to use, especially if one hopes to recruit them to help protect the tigers in the reserves.[50]  However, these people do not simply need a greater share of tourism dollars; they want concrete things such as health care and education.[51]  While providing this type of infrastructural support is certain to be a long-term project for a government beset with a burgeoning population that remains burdened with rampant poverty, it will be crucial to the success of the conservation effort to assure communities that preserving the tiger does not keep these things from them.  Therefore, in addition to the criminal enforcement, funding, and statutory efforts, the Indian government’s work in fighting the sources of this type of resentment cannot be a mere afterthought.

 

 

B.     Proposals for the United States

 

For the United States, there is really a two-pronged attack that this paper suggests in taking on the challenge of assisting a foreign state half-way around the world to preserve one of its most identifiable and charismatic species.  The primary means to help India will be to continue funding projects that support the efforts of the non-governmental organizations in helping the government to purchase the equipment, train the staff, and integrate the legal systems that are all vital to the enforcement Bureau’s success.  While it is likely that current efforts in the U.S. Congress to weaken our own Endangered Species Act will continue to garner enough support to at least make a lot of noise in this country,[52] countries such as India will need to be able to look to the U.S. as an example of how to preserve wildlife while at the same time allowing for economic progress to continue.  While providing direct diplomatic support for India’s upcoming work with China towards reducing the illegal trafficking of tiger derivatives, skins, and bones across the Indo-China border would likely not be all that helpful, the U.S. can probably assist some with Nepal and other neighboring countries, and can sponsor resolutions at the CITES Conferences of the Parties to help focus additional international support as well.  Finally, as will be seen in the next Section, public relations efforts in Asian communities throughout the United States, and domestic enforcement actions against retailers of tiger derivatives in the United States would also be helpful.

 

C.     Proposals for Reducing Demand in Asia

 

Finally, one of the keys to long-term international efforts at preventing the extinction of tigers throughout the world will be to reduce the demand for tiger skins, bones, and other derivatives, especially in Asian countries like China and Japan.  The high-prices such items fetch in the Asian markets continue to help fuel the extensive criminal poaching and trafficking networks, and shutting down the funding of these syndicates should be another primary goal of the international community.  Because Interpol considers the illegal trade in wildlife “to be the second largest illegal trade in the world, valued in excess of US $6 billion annually,”[53] no government can be expected to shut it down on their own.  However, it will be incumbent upon the international community to not only support India’s efforts to protect their tigers, but to also convince many Asian countries of the value of these animals, and make them aware that their behavior is driving its nosedive to extinction. 

            As the driving force behind much of the Asian demand for tiger products is based in their historic use for medicinal purposes,[54] any truly effective strategy for significantly decreasing the demand for such products will have to confront these traditional practices in one way or another.  Fortunately, there have been some gains in the reduction of both consumption and production of tiger-bone medicines since the 1990’s;[55] however, black market trade in all tiger products continues to survive, and given that “[t]iger-bone medicines and tonics are an ancient tradition,”[56] it will be necessary to counter this tradition both officially and underground.  Certainly, any efforts by the Chinese government to “reopen[] domestic trade in tigers and tiger parts, banned there since 1993 . . . would spell disaster for the already endangered species.”[57]  While it is always difficult to track black-market sales, any legalization of the trade in tiger parts, even if “limited to the trade of captive-bred tigers for traditional medicine from so-called ‘tiger farms,’”[58] could also embolden the black market trade to a degree that the tiger population might not be able to recover.

            Again, it is important to recognize that, as noted above, the most efficient way to continue to ensure the survival of the tigers throughout Asia will be to improve the ability of rural wildlife officials to cut off the trade where it starts; increasing the numbers of enforcement officials investigating and prosecuting poachers, as well as the resources they need to protect the tigers throughout their forested, rural habitats.[59]  However, this cannot be the only strategy, as the demand side of the equation would remain unaddressed.  Working to change the cultural perceptions surrounding the use of tiger products, on the other hand, can help to ensure that the traditional notions that led to the rationalization of such use in simpler times are not applied on a massive and ultimately destructive scale in today’s world.  Initiating such a change will not be easy, for as Professor Song Wei of the University of Science and Technology of China notes in a recent paper, the depth of traditional use of animal products in China is not trivial;

 

Chinese society is based on family relations.  So Chinese believe they originated from their ancestors instead of God.  They think that every individual acts as a link in the chain-like system evolving from their forefathers.  The late ones are ancestors for the living generation, while the latter will be ancestors for later generations.  Because of this belief, Chinese attach great importance to Worshiping ancestors. May the method and time vary; all worshipping ceremonies share one feature: animals and the food made of animals are a must. . . .  In China, the ingredients of medicine are made of various animals and plants.  The so-called Chinese medicinal science is noted for its special diagnosis and medicine.  Chinese medicine even needs more crude drugs composed of animals and plants.[60]

 

Despite this foundational inclusion of animals in the Chinese cultural heritage, one could certainly argue that the animals’ inclusion here presupposes their continued existence.  There may be room for the case to be made that stewardship of these animals is a duty of each generation in order to maintain the important ancestral link throughout the ages.  Indeed, to be a member of the generation in which one of the greatest animals of Chinese lore was hunted to extinction could potentially be a source of great shame and disgrace when seen from this stewardship perspective.  Therefore, conservation groups, perhaps in coordination with Asian governments, should consider undertaking informational campaigns throughout China, Japan, and other countries where tiger product consumption is the greatest, in order to begin teaching the current generations about the devastating effects of current patterns of tiger product use and what extinction could mean within the context of their ancestral heritage.  Whether these efforts to convince these countries take the form of a standard, American celebrity driven public relations campaign, or the early educational route of teaching school-children about conservation and ecology, it is clear that Asian demand for tiger products must be reduced, and quickly. 

 

Conclusion

 

The tigers in India, and throughout the Indian Ocean region, are truly a global treasure, and despite the loss of three sub-species of tigers in the 1900’s, hope for more successful conservation efforts endures in the redoubled efforts of the Indian Government seen in 2005.  However, the Government, and more importantly, the people of India need not only to be assured that they have the best wishes of the international community, but they also need to see that support in the form of concrete assistance to forest villages and enforcement officers.  Combined with visible efforts to reduce demand for tiger skins and bones in countries where it is the greatest, these efforts will go a long way to ensure that future generations can marvel at the apex predator of the Indian sub-continent.



* J.D. Candidate, Michigan State University College of Law, 2006.  B.S., University of Michigan.  The author would like to thank Professor David Favre for his insight into international wildlife issues, and Dr. Anjali Goswami for her assistance with contemporary developments in Indian tiger conservation.

[1] Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Mar. 3, 1973, 16 U.S.C 1531-44 [hereinafter CITES].  While CITES was signed in 1973, “[t]he international trade in all tiger parts and products was banned in 1975 when the Parties to CITES agreed to list tigers on Appendix I (with the exception of the Siberian sub-species, which was listed in 1987).”  Peter Richardson, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), CITES and Tigers (Apr. 10, 2000), available at http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/reports/reports.cgi?t= template&a=10.

[2] Project Tiger, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, The Report of the Tiger Task Force: Joining the Dots 103-05 (2005), available at http://projecttiger.nic.in/TTF2005/index.html [hereinafter Joining the Dots].

[3] Ruth A. Braun, Lions, Tigers and Bears [Oh My]: How to Stop Endangered Species Crime, 11 Fordham Envtl. L. J. 545, 549 (2000).

[4] See Richardson, supra note 1.

[5] The Wildlife (Protection) Act, ch. III, sec. 9, No. 53 of 1972; India Code (1993).

[6] See Debbie Banks & Julian Newman, EIA, The Tiger Skin Trail 15-16 (2004) available at http://www.eia-international.org/files/reports85-1.pdf; Joining the Dots, supra note 2, at 56-57.  The failure to provide for adequate enforcement has been recognized by the Director of Project Tiger, who has also called for amendments to the criminal provisions and the immediate creation of a “Wildlife Crime Bureau,” but these changes have yet to take place.  See Joining the Dots, supra note 1, at vii-viii.

[7] Dave Currey, EIA, The Political Wilderness: India’s Tiger Crisis 8 (1996), available at http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/reports/reports.cgi?t=template&a=62. The story of “notorious wildlife trader” Sansar Chand, who has had over “40 cases pending against him dating back to 1974” but has yet to spend any significant amount of time in incarceration or to be subjected to sufficient penalties, is particularly troubling as evidence of the power of poachers in small villages and of the insufficiencies of the Indian legal system.  Id.  “Frustratingly, India appears to lack sufficient enforcement infrastructures to enable targeted follow up to seizures and/or arrests.” Richardson, supra note 1 (quoting CITES Technical Mission report on India (1999)).

[8] Project Tiger, Introduction, available at http://projecttiger.nic.in/introduction.htm (last visited Dec. 4, 2005).  One of the most important ecosystem functions that takes place in these preserves, as well as many of the general wildlife sanctuaries in India, is their role in providing freshwater to a burgeoning population of rural Indians.  Debbie Banks et al., Undermined: Destruction of Tiger Habitat in India, EIA (2003), available at http://www.eia-international.org/files/reports50-1.pdf  See also, Part II.B, infra.

[9] Project Tiger, supra note 8.

[10] Banks, et al., supra note 8, at 9.

[11] See Joining the Dots, supra note 1, at vi-x.

[12] Braun, supra note 3, at 553.

[13] See CITES, supra note 1, at Art. II; see also Braun, supra note 3, at 553.

[14] See CITES, supra note 1, at Art. III; see also Braun, supra note 3, at 553-55.

[15] See Braun, supra note 3, at 555; see also CITES, supra note 1, at Art. III.

[16] See CITES, supra note 1, at Art. IV.

[17] Braun, supra note 3, at 555-56.

[18] Id. at 556.

[19] Currey, supra note 7, at 4.

[20] Richardson, supra note 1.

[21] CITES, List of Contracting Parties (in order of entry into force), available at http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/parties/index.shtml (last visited Dec. 4, 2005).

[22] Currey, supra note 7, at 4-5.  In addition, Japan’s legislation fails “to ban products which [a]re ‘not readily recognisable’ such as pills and all tiger derivative capsules.”  Id. at 4.

[23] Id. at 4-5.

[24] Traffic Network, Japan plugs legal loopholes on tigers (Jan. 11, 2000), available at http://www.traffic.org/news/loopholesplugged-tigers.html.

[25] The extinct sub-species include the Balinese, Caspian, & Javan Tigers.  Those sub-species remaining are the Bengal, Indo-Chinese, Siberian, South China, and Sumatran Tigers.  EIA, Wild Tigers: How Many and Where (12 Sept. 2005), available at http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/background.cgi?t=template&a=6.

[26] Id.

[27] See Part I, supra.

[28] Jay Mazoomdaar, ‘Ten of us, we killed at least 22 tigers’, The Sunday Express (India), Nov. 20, 2005, available at http://www.indianexpress.com/print.php?content_id=82342.  Compare this bounty with the $8,696 US price for a pair of Tiger shin bones, or $26,087 US for a 100g “vitality potion” claiming to contain some Tiger penis as an ingredient, both on sale in an average Japanese pharmacy, and you begin to understand the power of the black-market trade in Tiger parts.  Press Release, Traffic Network, Japanese Market Survey of Products Containing Tiger Parts and Derivatives (Feb. 15, 1999), available at http://www.traffic.org/publications/summaries/tigersurvey.html

[29] Currey, supra note 7, at 4.

[30] Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) are estimated to number roughly 4,000.  EIA, Wild Tigers: How many and Where?, supra note 25.

[31] Currey, supra note 7, at 5.

[32] Id.

[33] Id. at 4-5.

[34] Id.  See also, Traffic Network, supra note 24. 

[35] P.K. Mishra, MP: All Set to Preserve Biodiversity, Environ, Vol. VI, No. 2, at 13 (1998).

[36] Id.

[37] Anjali Goswami, Villages in Bandhavgarh National Park, India, CAT News, No. 34, at 11 (Spring 2001), available at http://lynx.uio.no/lynx/catnews/20_cat-news-website/home/index_en.htm

[38] Id.

[39] Id.

[40] See Id. (revealing that roughly seven per cent of tourism revenue reaches locals, who come to resent the tourism industry and the forest department officials seen as enabling this inequity to persist).

[41] See generally Banks et al., supra note 8 (describing destruction to critical tiger habitat and “local farming communities as a result of the quarrying for talc and marble”); Press release, EIA, UK Cosmetics Industry Risks Tiger Forests (June 22, 2003), available at http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/reports/reports.cgi?t=template&a-58 (exposing leading cosmetics companies for selling illegally mined talc products from Rajasthan’s Jamwa Ramgarh Wildlife Sanctuary).

[42] See Press release, EIA, Sahara and the Sundarbans–Ecotourism  or Megatourism? (Mar. 17, 2004), available at http://www.eia-international.org/files/reports73-1.pdf (describing serious environmental and social implications of Sahara India Pariwar ‘ecotourism’ project within Sundarbans National Park).

[43] Press Release, EIA, Environmentalists Welcome New Enforcement Unit in India to Combat Wildlife Crime (23 March 2005), available at http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/news/news.cgi?t=template&a=236&source=tigers

[44] See Joining the Dots, supra note 1, at 145-151.

[45] Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), Prime Minister Directs Action Against Tiger Traders (Oct. 7, 2005), available at http://www.wpsi-india.org/news/10102005.php

[46] WPSI, Supreme Court Protects Corbett Tiger Reserve (Nov. 25, 2005), available at http://www.wpsi-india.org/ news/28112005.php.

[47] Press Release, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of International Conservation, Multinational Species Conservation Fund – Rhino and Tiger Program Summary of Projects 2005 (Dec. 6, 2005) available at http://www.fws.us.gov (providing roughly $33,700 in equipment, $85,060 in enforcement training & support, $29,956 in environmental education and $50,250 in small business assistance for villages, and $124,815 in monitoring equipment, training, and scientific support).

[48] Press Release, Tiger Task Force, Tiger Task Force Submits Report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Aug. 5, 2005), available at http://envfor.nic.in/pt/TTF2005/index.htmlSee also Banks & Newman, supra note 6, at 15-16.

[49] Joining the Dots, supra note 2, at 203-205.

[50] Goswami, supra note 37, at 11 (“Vigilant patrolling may deter some criminals, but fully controlling entry into an area bound by over 70 villages is unrealistic given the current resources and management of the reserve. Forest communities must be enlisted to truly protect the wildlife and forest.”).

[51] See id.

[52] Simply conducting a “Google” search for “Congressman Richard Pombo” (R-CA) and “Endangered Species Act” will allow one to quickly get a sense of the potency of some Americans’ opposition to the protection of wildlife.

[53] Currey, supra note 7, at 4.

[54] See Kristin Nowell, Traffic Network, Far From A Cure: The Tiger Trade Revisited vii (2000), available at http://www.traffic.org/tigers/fullreport-tigers.pdf.

[55] Press Release, Traffic Network, Tigers Still Under Threat From Poaching and Trade (Mar. 30, 2000), available at http://www.traffic.org/tigers (noting a “marked fall in the consumption of tiger-bone medicines in former major consuming States”).

[56] Nowell, supra note 54, at xi.

[57] Press release, World Wildlife Fund, China May Reopen Trade in Tiger Parts Warns WWF (Sept. 27, 2005), available at http://news.mongabay.com/2005/0927-wwf.html

[58] Id.

[59] Nowell, supra note 54, at xi.  “Potential consumers of Tiger medicines are widely dispersed, and number in the hundreds of millions, while there are not many more than 150 individual wild Tiger populations.”  Id.; see also Yudhajit Shankar Das, Tiger Census a Smokescreen?, The Statesman (Feb. 22, 2006), available at http://www.thestatesman.net/page.arcview.php?clid=2&id=135433&usrsess=1 (The article discusses recent developments in both the Namdapha and Sariska tiger reserves, and notes that census methodology is currently determined on an ad hoc, rather than a standardized basis.  Following the Namdapha incident, government officials had claimed that new a census would be conducted using IUCN methodology, which apparently does not exist. Valmik Thapar, a leading activist in tiger conservation efforts, decries the lack of any firm grasp on the number of tigers in each of India’s 27 tiger reserves, and declares that the situation in some reserves is “disastrous.”). Clearly, more support in the conservation efforts of the Indian government is needed.

[60] Song Wei, Traditional Chinese Culture & Animals, Animal Legal and Historical Web Center (2005), available at http://www.animallaw.info (paper originally written for the International Animal Law Conference, held from April 2-4, 2004, in San Diego California).

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