Poaching and trade ban top international tiger meeting agenda



Posted on 18 April 2007  | 
Kathmandu, Nepal – Poaching is a major threat to the tiger’s survival, says leading experts attending an international symposium on the species.

WWF and TRAFFIC urged delegates attending the symposium, sponsored by the Global Tiger Forum, to take a strong position on promoting improved regional law enforcement to protect the world’s wild tigers and to oppose the re-opening of the tiger trade in China.

“A clear consensus emerged at the symposium that poaching of tigers in the wild must be combated urgently and that it requires immediate, coordinated efforts both by countries with tiger populations and countries driving the black market demand for tiger parts,” said Dr Susan Lieberman, director of WWF’s Global Species Programme and chair of the International Tiger Symposium.

“The world’s remaining wild tigers can’t wait. The need for protecting them has never been more urgent.”

One issue that dominated much of the discussion was whether China would lift its successful 14-year ban on trade of tiger bone and allow domestic sales of tiger products. A petition to overturn the ban is pending before the government by wealthy tiger farm investors, who now have more than 4,000 semi-tame tigers in captivity and are hoping to profit from sales of tiger products.

“Such a move could be a death sentence for wild tigers, which will be poached even more relentlessly if there’s a legal market for smugglers to ‘launder’ wild tiger products through,” said Steven Broad, executive director of TRAFFIC International.

“We call on the Global Tiger Forum to send a clear message to China that the international community finds any reopening of tiger trade unacceptable.”

Other recommendations from the symposium included: investigating ways to reduce human-tiger conflict across Asia and share lessons about methods to compensate communities for tiger depredation; convening a meeting of law enforcement experts to share advice and approaches to halting illegal tiger trade; and calling for the development of a global tiger conservation strategy that would follow an approach successfully used for African lion conservation.

For further information:
Jan Vertefeuille, Communications Manager
WWF International
Tel: +977 98510 26209

Trishna Gurung, Communications Manager
WWF Nepal 
Tel: +977 98510 20164
It is estimated that fewer than 7,000 tigers remain in the wild. Around 9,000 exist in captivity, the vast majority in the USA and China.
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