Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Indian poachers threaten lesser-known animals

NEW DELHI: Wildlife poachers, hindered by India's efforts to protect majestic endangered animals including tigers and rhinos, have begun to think smaller. And activists say scores of the country's lesser-known species are vanishing from the wild as a result.

The Indian pangolin — a scaly critter whose defense mechanism of rolling up into a ball is no help against humans — and the star tortoise — a popular pet that maxes out at a foot in length — are just two of the species that are being killed or smuggled in increasing numbers while conservation efforts focus on such iconic animals such as tigers and elephants.

"The problem is that we were turning a blind eye to all lesser-known species and suddenly this very lucrative trade has been allowed to explode," said Belinda Wright, director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, an advocacy group.

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