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Wildlife trade has pushed several species to the brink. Tiger is one such precious animal hunted for its skin, bones and other parts, besides trophies. In fact, every part of the animal is used in one way or the other. Its bones find their way into traditional oriental medicine, though there is no scientific evidence on their efficiency. Most consumers of tiger parts are from South-East Asia (China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan). In India, tiger skins have a ready market and sell for anything between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 each.

To fulfill the demand for tiger bones, even related species are used as substitutes, and these include the leopard, Snow Leopard and the Golden Cat. The global demand for fur from India pushes 20 species into illegal trade, ranging from the Snow Leopard and Cluded Leopard, to the desert cat, jackal, and the wolf.

January 13, 2000, 11:47 AM
NEW DELHI (AFP English) - Police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have seized 18,000 leopard claws and a large number of animal skins, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The seizures, made at a small town in Fatehpuri district, included 70 leopard skins, four tiger skins, 220 black buck skins and 132 tiger claws, The Indian Express said. Four men were arrested.

We suspect that the animals have been poisoned because there are no knife marks on the skins," a wildlife official, R.L. Singh, was quoted as saying.

Singh said 900 leopards would have to have been killed to get 18,000 claws.

India is believed to be home to some 5,000 leopards and 3,000 tigers.

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