Their skins are sold to decorate the homes of the elite and their bones are ground down to make “tonic” wines — despite these being banned
These are the pictures that environmental campaigners say shame China’s efforts to protect endangered tigers.
Despite signing international agreements banning the trade in tiger parts, an undercover investigation has discovered that the skins of the big cats are being openly sold with state approval.
The remains come from animals bred in so-called tiger farms and cramped zoos.
The beautiful beasts are kept in pitiful conditions and so badly fed they are emaciated, the Environmental Investigation Agency has revealed.
Their skins are sold to decorate the homes of the elite and their bones are ground down to make “tonic” wines — despite these being banned.
The agency’s report published today, Hidden in Plain Sight: China’s Clandestine Tiger Trade, also warns the trade is fuelling a rise in poaching as skins from wild tigers are a third of the price of farmed skins.
In just a few days their investigator was offered the skins of three tigers, one leopard and a snow leopard.
It is estimated that there are only 3,500 tigers surviving in the wild.
Debbie Banks, from the agency’s tiger campaign said China’s support for initiatives to protect tigers was “one of the biggest cons in tiger conservation”.
“China must stop cynically stimulating and aiding a trade it has vowed to end,” she added.
Breeding for trade must stop: By Shruti Suresh of Environmental Investigation Agency
Any trade in tiger parts could have a significant impact on the number of wild tigers, that’s why any breeding for trade must stop.
Wild tigers are a vital factor in the health of their eco-system.
If you removed the ‘king of the jungle’ then their prey, such as deer, would flourish and impact on other plants and animals.
When you mess around with natural, centuries-old cycles the consequences will be devastating.