Illegal trade in tiger parts
Traders are even storing dead tigers for their parts, which increase in value as numbers of live tigers fall.
High demand for tiger parts...Tiger bones have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for at least 1,000 years.
Alternatives to tiger products have now been found, validated by scientific research studies sponsored by the Chinese government and embraced by TCM practitioners.
But although TCM leaders say they no longer need or want tiger bone medicines, and although international trade in tiger parts is illegal, there is still demand for such products.
Different tiger parts – including claws, teeth and whiskers – are also believed to provide good luck and protective powers.
And recently, trade in tiger skins for use in clothing has increased.
Demand for tiger parts is exacerabted by growing populations and growing levels of wealth.
... means continued poachingThe continued demand for tiger parts is fed by poaching of tigers throughout their range.
In India, where lack of funds prevents anti-poaching measures, tigers have been exterminated from some tiger reserves.
In Indochina, poaching is so pervasive that it has created thousands of hectares of forests bereft of all wildlife.
And in Sumatra, at least 40 Sumatran tigers were poached per year between 1998 and 2002 to supply Indonesian and international markets for tiger skins and body parts. The total population of this tiger subspecies is estimated at fewer than 400 individuals.
- All international commercial tiger trade has been banned since 1987, under CITES.
- National trade in tiger parts is subject to each country's laws.
- Illegal trade in tiger parts is often run by organized criminal networks.
- China’s tiger trade ban since 1993 has been an overwhelming success in reducing trade and demand.