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Endangered Tigers Are Being Poisoned With Pesticides

Endangered Tigers Are Being Poisoned With Pesticides

As if the last of India’s endangered tigers don’t have enough problems, they’re now facing another threat: poisoned bait from poachers.

India is believed to be home to the largest population of Bengal tigers and the majority of the world’s tigers, but their numbers have declined dramatically in the past century, leaving only an estimated 1,706, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They have already lost the majority of their historic range due to development and continue to face threats from conflicts with humans and livestock, a lack of genetic diversity and from a growing demand for their parts, including skin, bones and teeth, in Tibet and China, which are estimated to be worth thousands.

According to the Telegraph, tribal poachers are now leaving fresh carcasses out that have been laced with a pesticide known as carbofuran, which was discovered after officials made inquiries into the unexplained rise in the deaths of tigers and leopards.

“The poachers used to use steel traps to catch tigers but there was always risk of getting caught,” said Dr. Abhishek Singh of the Endangered Flora and Fauna on Earth Conservation Team. ”Pesticides are easy to use and pose no danger to the poachers. They apply the pesticide to the carcass of dead animals used as a bait for the tiger and wait for him to consume it. One kilogram of the pesticide is enough for a carcass and single bite can led to the tigers death within an hour.”

Carbofuran, which is marketed under the name Furadan, is nasty stuff. It comes in a liquid or crystal form and is intended to be used as an insecticide on crops, but when used illegally its effects are lethal. It attacks the nervous system and only takes a small amount to kill humans and animals; a single grain can kill a bird and less than a quarter of a teaspoon to kill a person.

It has been blamed for causing problems for wildlife in other countries and has been banned in Europe and Canada. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned it in 2009 due to safety concerns and the belief that it was responsible for killing millions of migratory birds and causing a decline in Salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

The U.S.-based manufacturer FMC Corporation also instituted a buyback program in Kenya and East Africa to get it off store shelves after the discovery that it was being used to intentionally poison thousands of predators who posed a threat to livestock and killing other non-target animals, such as vultures, who consumed it.

Unfortunately, this pesticide is still on the market and widely available, but conservationists are fighting its use and are now calling for a ban on carbofuran in India where it’s used by potato farmers to help protect the last of these big cats and ensure their survival.

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Please sign and share the petition urging officials in India to protect wildlife and ban Carbofuran.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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85 comments

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5:50PM PDT on Jul 28, 2013

The most majestic beautiful powerful animals that there is and it still does not stand a chance against man...

10:23AM PDT on Jul 28, 2013

I hope the poachers end up eating it themselves

2:49PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

BAD

1:27PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Those poachers should accidentally kill themselves by their own poison!...

10:53AM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Yet, The 1st World Countries spend next to nothing in resources to give poachers other options to survive.
I cannot remember signing any petition to start UN programs to provide these poachers with alternatives to survive.
Have any members saying kill the poachers, ever signed any petition to start UN programs to provide these poachers with alternatives to survive?
If anyone knows of any, then please let me know.

10:53AM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

I WILL NEVER ACCEPT KILLING OF PEOPLE, FOR ANY REASON!!! IT IS CALL CAPITAL PUNISHMENT OR WAR!!!
I wonder how many of those saying kill the poachers, believe in human killers getting capital punishment?
Though I do believe the protectors of certain African reserves and parks have been forced to shoot and kill poachers; I believe I heard that the protectors are also at risk of being killed by the armed poachers (it has been a while since I witnessed/watched the nature program that stated that, so I cannot 100% sure).
I NOT saying our species lives (even the very worse of us) are any more valuable than any other Beings (reason I campaigned for Michael 'Serial Dog Torturer & Murder' Vick to be trailed and punished like serial killer, of members of our species) lives; however, what far, far and far too many of you miss is that all species are all equal, even if far, far and far too many of them are a lot closer to extinction, and even the very worse of our species can be rehabilitated. Examples, REAL Terrorist and REAL Serial Killers have turned into healthy citizens of the world, after they turned on their fellow REAL Terrorist and REAL Serial Killers.
Plus, far, far and far too many of these poachers and any species killers (killers of our species even) have been forced to, to survive and by adults.
Yet, The 1st World Countries spend next to nothing in resources to give poachers other options to survive.
I cannot remember signing any petition to start UN programs

9:52PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Poachers - no matter what their modus operandi - should be shot on sight - no questions asked - - - same goes for traders who deal in animal parts - - - as for the god damned ignorant people - the consumers of these parts - I would be tempted to say the same - we don't need people like that on this earth - - - but then as I have said several times before - humans consider human life sacrosanct - so in the not too distant future - prepare yourself for the extinction of tigers in the wild - - - but then in reality - how many people actually even care anyway - - -

9:03PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Poachers need to be stopped at all costs...even shot on sight. We cannot let then kill all the endangered species.

8:49PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

I have another worry. What if these animals watch others dying after consumption and start having a hard time following their inborn foraging instincts? That would make their survival chances even slimmer.

8:47PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Petition already signed. I hope these tribal poachers face hefty fines but alsoare helped to retrain to earn their living in a different way. There should be hefty fines all along the distribution chain up to the ones making big money or to those purchasing some of the tigers' parts as luxury items. The latter are the worse and should get jail time!

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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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