Body parts from more than 1,000 wild tigers have been seized over the past decade, crimes that are adding to the extinction crisis faced by the species whose numbers are estimated at around just 3,200 worldwide, a wildlife monitoring network reported Tuesday.
Castaway's parents thought they would never see him again
The father of Pacific castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga said he was told his long-lost son vanished on a fishing trip but he didn’t have the heart to break the news to his ailing wife.
- Scotland legalizes same-sex marriage
- Weapons deal strengthened Assad: US intel chief
- Outcry over the fate of Sochi's stray dogs
- Olympic construction leaves Sochi residents in the cold
- Castaway's parents thought they would never see him again
"Parts of between 1,069 and 1,220 tigers were seized in 11 of the 13 tiger range countries — or an average of 104 to 119 animals per year," TRAFFIC said in a report ahead of an international meeting later this month to protect the species.
India was highest on the list, followed by China and Nepal.
"Given half the world’s tigers live in India, it’s no real surprise the country has the highest number of seizures," report author Pauline Verheij said in a statement.
"With parts of potentially more than 100 wild Tigers actually seized each year," she added, "one can only speculate what the true numbers of animals are being plundered."
Tiger items that are smuggle range from complete skins, skeletons and even whole animals — live and dead — to bones, meat, claws, teeth, skulls, penises and other body parts, TRAFFIC said.
Only on NBCNews.com
- From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
- US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
- China: One-child policy is here to stay
- New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
- 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
- China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
- French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali
"Clearly enforcement efforts to date are either ineffective or an insufficient deterrent," stated Mike Baltzer, leader of WWF’s Tigers Alive initiative.
"Not only must the risk of getting caught increase significantly, but seizures and arrests must also be followed up by swift prosecution and adequate sentencing," he said.
Besides poaching, the other main pressure on tigers is habitat loss.
Some 100,000 tigers are thought to have been around a century ago, TRAFFIC said.
TRAFFIC is a joint program of WWF and the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints