NEW DELHI – 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."