India Destroys Stockpile of Illegal Wildlife Parts

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. Wildlife officials and members of the media crammed into the small room at the zoo to witness the inferno.

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Indian authorities hold a tiger skin as they set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, November 2, 2014. A stockpile of tiger skins, elephant tusks, rhino horns and other illegal animal parts were burned Sunday in an effort to discourage wildlife smuggling in South Asia. (Photo by Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo)

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A tiger skin is displayed before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, November 2, 2014. (Photo by Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo)

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Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar displays a tiger skin before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, November 2, 2014. (Photo by Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo)

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A zoo worker stands beside a tiger skin displayed before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, November 2, 2014. (Photo by Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo)

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An elephant tusk is thrown into the fire as Indian authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, November 2, 2014. (Photo by Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo)

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Hippo horns are displayed before authorities set fire to a stockpile of illegal wildlife parts at the Delhi Zoo in New Delhi, India, Sunday, November 2, 2014. (Photo by Tsering Topgyal/AP Photo)

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