years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Below is a summary of the main messages the International Tiger Coalition wishes tiger range states to be aware of.
Poaching of tigers and their prey is driving decreases in tiger populations throughout their range.
Inadequate law enforcement and residual demand for tiger products pose the greatest near-term threats to the survival of wild tigers.
Even talk of reopening trade in farmed (or captive-bred) tiger products has helped sustain residual demand, prompted investors to stockpile wild tiger skins and bones, and caused police in some Asian countries to take tiger trafficking less seriously.
Tiger farms (and other Intensive tiger breeding operations) must be phased out while, at the same time, intelligence-led wildlife law enforcement and demand-reduction campaigns are intensified.
Demand reduction campaigns do work, but they have not yet been given adequate support to do so.
Intelligence-led law enforcement does work, but it has not been given adequate support to do so.
Governments should provide urgently needed support to increase capacity of international and national law enforcement and intelligence exchange, especially the coordinating capacities of INTERPOL, the CITES Secretariat and the World Customs Organization.
National and regional tiger-crime databases should feed into a global database to enhance international cooperative law enforcement efforts to stop tiger trade from all sources.
The number of tigers on China’s tiger farms alone has surpassed 6,000, while similar intensive tiger breeding operations are starting up in Southeast Asia. Investors in these farms depend on demand for tiger parts and products to increase. In fact, the best-case business scenario for them is for wild tigers to go extinct so that they can have a monopoly on supplying tiger-bone wine and tiger skins to China and, perhaps, the world.
Registration systems for intensive tiger breeding operations, including those using DNA, will not reduce demand for tiger products. Only phasing out tiger farms and other intensive tiger breeding operation will reduce this grave threat to wild tigers.
China banned domestic tiger trade in 1993 because it was undermining the CITES ban on international tiger trade. The potential for domestic tiger trade in China to undermine CITES is now exponentially greater due to growth of human populations and per capita buying power.
The 2010 Chinese Year of the Tiger is offering unprecedented opportunities for policymakers in Asia and around the world to take action to bring back wild tigers. If they do not take immediate and bold new action, there may be no wild tigers left when the Year of the Tiger comes around again in 12 years.
Concern for saving “face” among tiger range and consuming counties should not supersede discussing “sensitive” issues that must be addressed if the world is to avoid losing wild tigers.
Wild tigers are emblematic of all of nature’s abundance (species and ecosystems) now endangered by degradation and overexploitation. If we can’t save wild tigers, can we hope to save ourselves?