Notification to the Parties
No. 2000/017 Geneva, 29 February 2000
Significant wildlife crime incidents in India
1. In December 1999, three tiger skins and 50 leopard skins were discovered by sales tax officials in a truck in Gaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. The truck was bound for Siliguri in north Bengal, near India’s borders with Nepal and Bhutan.
2. In January 2000, as a result of investigations following the previous seizure, authorities raided a house in Khaga, Uttar Pradesh, India and seized four tiger skins, 175 kg of bones from tiger and other species, 132 tiger claws, 70 leopard skins and 18,000 leopard claws.
3. At this stage, it appears that the skins were likely to be used for decorative or ornamental purposes, rather than for processing into clothing. The skins were all of high quality and bore marks that appear to have been made during a selection process. This indicates that other, poorer quality skins, remain untraced.
4. The final destination of the items remains unknown, although information suggests that customers in China and the Middle East have expressed an interest in purchasing exotic cat skins.
5. Not only do these enforcement actions suggest the existence of an organized wildlife crime network in India, they also demonstrate the return of the illicit trade in animal skins that had apparently largely disappeared in the 1990s.
6. The Secretariat requests that any information that Parties may have relating to this type of illicit trade be passed to it as soon as possible. In particular, the Secretariat is anxious to identify possible markets for the skins, bones and claws outside India, to assist enforcement agencies in targeting illicit traders. A more detailed intelligence briefing regarding these incidents has been supplied by the Secretariat to ICPO-Interpol and the World Customs Organization.
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