Poaching and trade ban top international tiger meeting agenda
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.
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Trishna Gurung, Communications Manager
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