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Poachers Can Be Shot, Officials In India Declare

Poachers caught hunting tigers in India's Maharashtra state are on notice that they could be shot on sight.

The Times of India says the "stern stand against poachers" means "if the forest officials fire upon the poachers injuring or killing them, the action will not be considered a crime." Prior to this week's announcement by state officials, those guards were subject to prosecution for such actions.

The newspaper adds that "Maharashtra forest minister Patangrao Kadam has asked forest guards to 'shoot at sight' if they see any poacher hunting or laying traps in tiger reserves."

According to The Associated Press:

"India faces intense international scrutiny over its tiger conservation, as it holds half of the world's estimated 3,200 tigers in dozens of wildlife reserves set up since the 1970s, when hunting was banned.

"Illegal poaching remains a stubborn and serious threat, with tiger parts in particular fetching high prices on the black market because of demand driven by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.

"According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, 14 tigers have been killed by poachers in India so far this year — one more than in all of 2011."

(H/T to NPR's Wright Bryan.)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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