World

From tiger bones to elephant tusks, India sets fire to stockpile of illegal wildlife parts

  • Indian authorities hold a tiger skin as they set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. A stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts were burned Sunday in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

    Indian authorities hold a tiger skin as they set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. A stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts were burned Sunday in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)  (The Associated Press)

  • A tiger skin is displayed before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. A stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts were burned Sunday in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

    A tiger skin is displayed before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. A stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts were burned Sunday in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)  (The Associated Press)

  • A zoo worker stands beside a tiger skin displayed before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. A stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts were burned Sunday in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

    A zoo worker stands beside a tiger skin displayed before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. A stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts were burned Sunday in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)  (The Associated Press)

India has set fire to a stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks and rhino horns in an effort to discourage illegal wildlife smuggling and trade in South Asia.

Animal poaching and illegal smuggling have flourished in India, driven by black market demand from China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries where many believe exotic animal parts have medicinal or aphrodisiacal properties.

Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar loaded thousands of illegal animal parts Sunday into a large, blazing oven at the Delhi Zoo. The parts included tiger and leopard pelts, reptile skins, rhino horns and shawls made from endangered Tibetan antelope called shahtoosh.

The Environment Ministry said "the exercise is an attempt to deplore the unethical, indiscriminate and most unlawful activities of harvest and trade of wildlife products."