To some, the idea of farming tigers, as we farm say chickens or cows may seem a productive and efficient way to stop tigers being poached in the wild. A basic logic dictates, that not only does this ensure a plentiful supply for endangered species consumers, but that farms will act as some sort of magical wand that alleviates the need for criminals to poach tigers to order from the wild.
China is the biggest actor in this industry, however, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and even Korea are all major wildlife consumers and are implicit in the trafficking and manufacturing of endangered species medicine and adornments.
The reality is this. Tiger farms actually DRIVE poaching. They make it easy, and normalise the use of tigers as home decoration or virility product.
“BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?!” A question we are regularly. Just what is being done about the threat of tiger farms and consumption of tiger parts for both health and ostentatious shows of wealth?
Whilst it may not always be clear from the outside how NGOs and Governments bring about change, I hope that this blog will go some way in explaining a bit more simply what is happening.
During the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) annual conference, a major decision was made to add “tiger farming” to the list of “serious threats” to the conservation of Amur tigers and leopards.
While the focus is on Amur cats (due to their proximity to major illegal wildlife hubs in China, Laos & Vietnam) this is good news for demand for wild tigers across Asia.
This motion was voted in by 91% of Government representatives and 86% of non-governmental organisations.
Great – we are now all agreed, tiger farming is wrong, and it is a major contributor to decline in wild tiger populations, as well as “normalising” the consumption of tiger parts.
The next phase is show CITES ( Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), that the current interventions are not being enforced to the full extent of the law at their next global conference September 24, 2016.
The manufacture and sale of any product containing tiger parts is already prohibited by CITES, however, there is proof that “wildlife parks” such as Harbin in China not only sell, but manufacture products like tiger bone wine on site.
We are again joining forces with a formidable team of NGO’s including Born Free, EIA and Big Cat Rescue to show CITES that current laws are not being enforced. That is anything the black market trade in tigers is growing – and that demand is exacerbated by these farms. A signed statement will be delivered to CITES in hope that they will take this issue as seriously as we all do, so that places like Harbin will cease to fuel illegal trade.