Nilgiri plundered

A RECENT study conducted by a Delhi- based NGO, Vatavaran, revealed that there iva blatant plundering of the Nilgiri bioreserve by the international wildlife trade cartel. The bioreserve constitutes 15 per cent of India's total protected area sheltering 100 mammalian species, 550 avian species and 30 reptilian species. Vatavaran stated that both within and outside the boundaries of the reserve, live specimens and their body parts are available in as many as 30 spots.

Elephant tusk measuring 20 cm in length sells at about Rs 5,000. Tiger skins can be bought under the counter, while tiger nails can be easily procured for Rs 500 and a tiger tooth for Rs 300. The meat of a black-naped bare, an Indian pangolin, 3,jackal or a jungle cat is available for Rs 50-100 per kg - cheaper than even mutton or chicken. While a live bonnet macaque is sold for Rs 100, a lion-tailed macaque - the most endangered primate - can be procured for Rs 500 to Rs 1,200.

Twenty eight species of birds included in the schedule iv and seven species of birds in the schedule i of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, are being traded illegally. Live peacocks or their chopped heads, legs, claws and feathers are also sold within the borders of the reserve.