Kochi: India has recorded the highest number of seizure of tigers and parts among all 13 tiger range countries, accounting for 44 per cent, according to a report by wildlife trade monitor released on Wednesday.
Titled 'Reduced To Skin And Bones Re-Examined: Full Analysis', the report said such incidents of smuggling of tiger and tiger parts reveal failure of tiger range countries in ramping up enforcement, closing tiger farms and strengthening laws.
"India, the country with the highest population of wild tigers globally, also recorded the highest number of seizure - a minimum of 540 tigers seized over 16 years," said the report, which is a comprehensive analysis of 16 years.
The report prepared by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, has found all tiger range countries continued to grapple with the persistent problem of the big cat being removed from the wild and on ways to break the chains of supply and demand.
"During the 16-year period under review, India had recorded the greatest number of seizures of all tiger range countries, accounting for 44 per cent of the total. It reported seizure of a minimum of 540 tigers and a maximum of 622 tigers, the minimum accounting for 30 per cent of the total," it said.
The report, released on Wednesday on the eve of international conference on illegal wildlife trade being held in Hanoi, also said in contrast with the other countries, India has observed a rapid decrease in number of seizures reported since 2010.
The highest number of seizures was recorded in 2009 and the lowest in 2013.
"While the overall number of tigers seized has decreased, the proportion of skins seized remains a high proportion of the seizures but to a lesser degree," the report said, describing Indian scenario.
The report, which showed the location of all reported seizures in India with spot details and a map, has illustrated "three hotspots, the greatest comprising the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu".
It said these issues existed to varying degrees across all the 13 Tiger range countries scrutinized, evidenced by the minimum of 1,755 tigers seized from 2000-2015, an average of more than two animals per week.
Kanitha Krishnasamy, Senior Programme Manager for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia and a co-author of the report, said laws in most countries are weak and without fundamental structures in place, success of any enforcement action is greatly undermined.
"Wild Tiger range countries must step up their game to beat the odds of extinction," Krishnasamy said.