The report warns that Chinese business owners who would profit from the tiger trade are putting increasing pressure on the Chinese government to overturn its successful 1993 ban and allow domestic trade in captive-bred tiger parts for use in traditional medicine and clothing to resume. For example, investors in the growing number of large-scale captive-breeding "tiger farms" in China are pushing for legalizing trade of products from these facilities, which now house 4,000 tigers. The farms keep captive-bred tigers together in large enclosures—a condition not found in the wild—and feed live animals to them before busloads of tourists. Such farmed tigers are unsuitable for reintroduction into the wild.
"Reopening any legal trade in tiger parts would be an enormous step backwards for tiger conservation," said Leigh Henry, Program Officer for TRAFFIC North America. "A legal market in China would muddy the waters for enforcement officials and provide smugglers with a convenient cover for laundering wild tigers since farmed and wild products are indistinguishable. Raising tigers in captivity is 250 times more expensive than poaching wild tigers so there's plenty of incentive to poach and smuggle the last remaining wild populations to extinction."
Undercover surveys by TRAFFIC included in the report found little tiger bone currently available in China. Less than 3 percent of 663 medicine shops and dealers claimed to stock it, and most retailers were aware that tigers are protected and illegal to trade. Thus China's measures to implement and enforce its trade ban ranging from public education campaigns and promotion of effective substitutes for tiger medicines to severe punishment for law breakers have been effective.
According to WWF and TRAFFIC, the Chinese ban helped prevent the extinction of tigers by curbing demand in what was historically the world's largest consumer in tiger parts. Together with international law under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the ban has virtually eliminated the domestic market for tiger products in traditional medicines.
However, a TRAFFIC survey documented 17 instances of tiger bone wine for sale on Chinese auction websites, with one seller offering a lot of 5,000 bottles. And demand for big cat skins as status symbol clothing, particularly in China's Tibetan Autonomous Region, is increasing, with about 3 percent of Tibetans in major towns claiming to own tiger or leopard skin garments even though they knew it was illegal.
"In the early 1990s, we feared that Chinese demand for tiger parts would drive the tiger to extinction by the new millennium. The tiger survives today thanks in large part to China's prompt, strict and committed action and U.S. support for it," said Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, director of WWF's Species Program. "To overturn the ban and allow any trade in captive-bred tiger products would waste all the efforts invested in saving wild tigers. It would be a catastrophe for tiger conservation."
WWF and TRAFFIC call on the Chinese government to maintain its domestic trade ban; strengthen its efforts to enforce the law against the illegal trade in tigers and other Asian big cats, particularly of skins; impose a moratorium on all tiger breeding; destroy the stocks of tiger carcasses; and increase public awareness of the current trade ban.
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
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21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy