Enhanced international coordination required to save tigers: CBI chief

India pitched for enhanced coordination among international law enforcement agencies to check poaching of tigers and smuggling of their body parts.

Updated: Jul 01, 2013, 21:35 PM IST

New Delhi: India on Monday pitched for enhanced coordination among international law enforcement agencies to check poaching of tigers and smuggling of their body parts.

Addressing an Interpol conference on wildlife crime in the South Asian region, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha termed the protection of the endangered animal as a "formidable" challenge for the international community.

"A welter of pressures, including loss and fragmentation of habitat, large scale and organised poaching fostered by an ugly international demand, unregulated mining in tiger landscapes, loss of connectivity between source areas and ever increasing demand on our forests for developmental projects continue to challenge the efforts to save the tiger," he said.

India has the maximum number of tigers along with its source areas amongst the 13 tiger range countries in the world. The country is home to about more than half of the world`s tigers.

"Presently, the country`s 1,706 tigers are scattered across a fragmented system of 43 reserves which are under the governance of 17 different state governments. The challenge to protect these is formidable," Sinha said.

He added that to effectively counter this threat "we need greater coordination between the intelligence agencies and enforcement agencies transcending national boundaries."

The CBI chief said the probe agency had gained valuable expertise in this domain while probing the Sariska Tiger killings case few years back.

Calling India "the land of the tiger", Sinha inaugurated the five-day conference of `Interpol Integrated Investigative Capacity Development and Operational Planning-South Asia` which is being attended by country`s neighbours like Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, among others.

He said saving the Tiger is like "saving the ecosystem."

India has nearly 6.5 per cent of the world`s known wildlife species, and is one of the mega diverse countries of the world. The global demand for wildlife and its products puts at risk the mega diversity of the country, Sinha said.

"The most insidious and the immediate threat to the tiger is the illegal trade in its bone and other parts of its body. Wildlife trade is now well entrenched and widespread in India. The low risk of detection, huge profits and numerous cross border trade routes has made illegal trade an increasingly attractive business," the Director said.

He said the changing market dynamics and the lifestyles make the existing regulatory regimes inadequate in dealing with the wildlife crimes assuming organised status.

"It calls for coordinated actions in combating the wildlife related crimes including building capacity for scientific and professional investigation along with other measures," he said during his inaugural speech.