NEW DELHI – (AP) — Indian authorities set fire Sunday to a stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia.
Animal poaching and 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. In most cases, there is no scientific evidence that they do.
Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar loaded more than 42,000 illegal animal parts 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.