Smaller Animals Now Appear More Attractive to Poachers

Smaller Animals Now Appear More Attractive to Poachers

Serious efforts have been made by environmentalists and animal welfare organizations to protect bigger animals like tigers, elephants and rhinos. As the focus mainly stays on the bigger species facing extinction risk, the smaller species and especially lesser-known ones get ignored and as a result, they are vanishing from the wild.

Experts have pointed out two species that are getting killed and smuggled at an increased rate. First one is Indian pangolin, who can roll up into a ball, and second species is the star tortoise, a popular pet.

"The problem is that we were turning a blind eye to all lesser-known species and suddenly this very lucrative trade has been allowed to explode", said Belinda Wright, Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

These animals are either kept as pets or they are eaten for their hypothesized medicinal properties. Also, it has been noticed that increasing affluence of countries like China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries have also increased the demand for these animals.

From 1990 to 2008, on an average three killings of pangolin were reported in India. But now, the number has alarmingly increased. Between 2009 and 2013, more than 320 per year were killed.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature released a report last month. As per the report, over a million pangolins are poached from habitats in Asia and Africa.

Less than 800 star tortoise seizures were reported from 1990 to 1999. Situation is completely different now as more than 3,000 per year were reported between 2002 and 2013.

Tito Joseph, a program manager for the society, stated that demand for lizard skin, meat and bones has also increased in the Indian countryside. Lizard skin is used in making high-end bags and belts. These animals have become more popular to poachers as the government has got actively involved in the tiger conservation program that began around 40 decades ago.


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