In a rare victory for embattled conservationists, police in northern India yesterday busted a major tiger poaching ring as the gang was negotiating a sale of three tiger pelts and skeletons, AP reports. The remains were believed to be headed to China, where tiger body parts are sold on the black market for medicine, a major factor in the decline of India's tiger population.
A trader at the negotiations was offering $4,500 for each pelt and skeleton, a fortune to the villagers who kill the animals, officials said. He in turn could sell each purchase for $50,000 in China. The Indian tiger population has dropped from 3,600 five years ago to some 1,500 today.