Maneka asks China to stop poaching in India’s northeast

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Shillong, April 18 (IANS) Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who is also a wildlife activist, on Monday asked China to stop poaching of wild animals in India’s northeastern states.

“Wildlife is dwindling in the northeastern states. (Poachers in) the northeastern states are under severe pressure from China to kill wild animals be it rhinos, turtles, tigers in the region,” Gandhi told journalists on the sidelines of a regional conference on child adoption.

“We have found illegal factories in Karnataka where insects have been put into plastic keychains to be exported to China. Every day, our ports are used to smuggle out lakhs of seahorses, aquarium fish, birds, skins, shark fins and big cat bones. Tiger killing in India is at an all-time high sponsored by China,” said the minister for women and child development.

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On China’s new draft Wildlife Protection Law, Gandhi said: “The draft law continues to allow the existence of captive breeding programmes of wild animals for commercial purposes, as well as the capture of wild animals for these programmes.

“The language legitimises the use of wildlife for commercial purposes and encourages more consumption of wildlife products.”

“China’s new draft wildlife conservation law will continue to allow the extraction of bile from captive bears for traditional Chinese medicine and supplements, legitimising the consumption of wildlife and opening the market further to supplements, something never before made legal in Chinese law — which means thousands of Indian animals ranging from rhino to scorpions will continue to be smuggled into China,” she said.

Gandhi, however, said India can counter China’s attempt by further training forest department officials and wildlife activists in the region, by giving more money to the forest departments to build rescue centres, getting lawyers to fight cases and start arresting suspects, and winding up their markets.

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