New Delhi: With China gearing up to mark
2010 as Year of the Golden Tiger when the demand for the
animal parts and derivatives are expected to shoot up, forest
reserves which are home to the big cats in India have been put
on high alert against possible poaching.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2010 is the Year of a
Golden Tiger which begins on February 14 and ends on February
2, 2011. The Tiger is the third sign in the cycle of Chinese
Zodiac which consists of 12 animal signs.
There are apprehensions that this would fuel illegal
trade in the body parts of the animals in Indian forests to
meet the demand for Chinese traditional medicines which are
widely used for various purposes.
"As precautionary measures, a series of advisories
have been issued to tiger reserves across the country asking
the authorities to step up intelligence and keep a tab on
poachers and smugglers` activities," sources in the
Environment Ministry said.
The advisories have been issued by the Wildlife Crime
Control Bureau (WCCB), an intelligence wildlife agency.
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has already
expressed concern, stating the new year posed a "threat
to tigers in India". In August last year, he had, during his
trip to China, asked the authorities for more help in cracking
down on the trade in tiger parts.
To counter the threat, India has announced a series of
steps to raise awareness and draw international attention to
save the endangered animal whose count stand at 1,400 in the
country`s 37 reserves as against total 3000 in the world.