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Shoot at Sight: Indian State Declares War on Poachers

Half the world’s estimated tiger population lives on the wildlife reserves in India. But poaching is a major threat to the tigers ofIndia. Tiger parts have high demand in traditional Chinese medicine market. Due to this, the poachers are paid high prices.

This year, 14 tigers have been killed by poachers so far. In 2011, around 13 tigers were killed due to poaching.

Now Maharashtra, an Indian state, has declared war on these tiger poachers by giving license to shoot the poachers on sight to the wildlife rangers. From now on, killing suspected poachers will no longer be a crime. That means it is open season on tiger poachers.

According to the forest minister Patangrao Kadam, rangers should not be booked for human rights violations when they have acted against poachers.

The head of the World Wildlife Fund of India Mr. Divyabhanusinh Chavda says that poachers have lost all fear. They just go in and poach what they want because they know the risks are low. And now for poachers, the risk is death.

Indian government is also increasing ranger patrols and offering payments up to five million rupees ($89,210 USD) to informants.

In India, tiger reserves were set up in the ’70s with the hope of protecting tigers from disappearing. These reserves helped to increase the tiger population in the ’90s. But later poaching has been a direct threat to the species. In 2008, WWF reported a 60% decline in wild tiger population in India. The population of tigers is around 3500 worldwide and around 1400 tigers are found in India.

We hope that these new orders will put the necessary fear into poachers to make them stop.

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