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 user 2005-04-15 at 10:53:00 am Views: 61
  • #8893
    Dalai Lama campaigns for wildlife
    The Dalai Lama has called for an end to illegal wildlife
    trafficking between Nepal, Tibet, India and China.

    He is appealing to exiled Tibetans, who are increasingly involved in the
    bloody trade, to remember their dedication to Buddhist non-violence.

    Last year, Tibetan officials intercepted 32 tiger, 579 leopard and 665 otter
    skins in one single shipment.

    This prompted the Dalai Lama and a pair of wildlife charities to launch an
    awareness drive around the Himalayas.

    “We Tibetans are basically Buddhists, we preach love and compassion towards
    all other living beings on Earth,” said the exiled Tibetan leader. “Therefore,
    it is the responsibility of all of us to realise the importance of wildlife

    We must realise that because of our follies a large
    number of our animals are getting killed

    The Dalai
    The Dalai Lama is working with the charities Care for the Wild
    International (CWI), from the UK, and the Wildlife Trust of India, to promote an
    understanding of the damage illegal trading can cause.

    The team plan to make videos and leaflets which they will take to Tibetan
    refugee settlements around India. They also hope to broadcast anti-poaching
    messages over the TV and radio.

    “Thousands will be reached in this way,” said Barbara Maas of CWI.
    “Eventually, we hope to reach every single one – we will go to schools, we will
    go to refugee camps, we will go to villages.”

    Urgent action

    Dr Maas says the project has a sense of urgency because illegal wildlife
    trading is set to get worse, thanks to a new train line being constructed
    between the old Tibetan capital of Lhasa and Beijing, the capital of China.

    This new transport link will make things easier for poachers wishing to shift
    animal body parts.

    “You can imagine what will happen when the train link opens,” said Dr Maas.
    “So we are trying to pour water on the flames as they are at the moment and also
    take pre-emptive action.”

    Other charities are in strong support of this new initiative.

    “Our own investigation has shown that Tibetans are heavily involved in the
    organised smuggling of tiger and leopard skins between India and Tibet, and that
    Tibet is a major market and distribution point for these skins,” said Debbie
    Banks, of the Environmental Investigation Agency.

    “We are encouraged that the Dalai Lama is taking action on this
    serious issue and hope that his message helps to prevent this disgusting trade
    from spiralling further out of control.”

    CWI claims that the illegal wildlife trade is devastating populations of
    endangered Himalayan and sub-Himalayan wildlife such as tigers, leopards, snow
    leopards, otters and bears.

    Many of these animal body parts head for China, where they find their way
    into the traditional medicine market.

    Wildlife organisations have long worried about this sad pilgrimage, but few
    have appealed to people’s religious sensibilities to prevent it.

    The Dalai Lama carries enormous weight, especially with Tibetans living in
    exile, so his voice is likely to be heard.

    “It is in the Pali and Sanskrit tradition to show love and compassion for all
    living beings,” he said at a press conference in New Delhi, India. “It is a
    shame that we kill these poor creatures to satisfy our own aggrandisement.

    “We must realise that because of our follies a large number of our animals
    are getting killed and we must stop this.”

    Loud voice

    The CWI is under no illusion about the importance of the Dalai Lama backing
    the campaign.

    “This campaign starts and ends with him,” said Dr Maas. “If it was just us
    saying: ‘Oh please don’t do it’, I’m not sure it would do much good. But His
    Holiness will make all the difference.”

    Underpinning the whole campaign is the hope that, in the end, people all over
    the world will want to save endangered species not because we can benefit from
    them financially, but because it is wrong to kill them.

    The Dalai Lama said: “Today more than ever before life must be characterised
    by a sense of universal responsibility not only nation to nation and human to
    human, but also human to other forms of life.