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Chinese authorities stop auction of tiger bone wine in China

 

4th December 2011

In response to a press release put out by IFAW about the imminent auction of at least 400 bottles of tiger bone wine in Beijing on 3rd December, thousands of conservationists from around the world emailed the Chinese authorities urging them to halt the auction. We are happy to note that the CITES Management Authority of China took action and stopped the high-profile auction. Forest policeman have apparently initiated an investigation into the matter.

Below is the email that was sent by WPSI to the Chinese authorities. It was copied to hundreds of tiger conservationists in India.

From: Belinda Wright
Date: 3 December 2011
Subject: Tiger Bone Wine to be auctioned today in China

To: Dr Meng Xianlin
      Executive Director, CITES MA of China
      China State Forestry Administration, Beijing, China

Dear Dr Meng Xianlin,

Conservationists in India are distressed to hear from IFAW that an auction is due to take place in Beijing today, 3rd December 2011, that will feature at least 400 bottles of tiger bone wine. This is not in keeping with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s stated commitment in 2010 to end the trade in tiger products, and we urge you to stop this illegal sale of tiger bone wine.

Wild tigers are in crisis everywhere, but no more so than in India where tigers are being pursued mercilessly by poachers to feed the demand for their body parts, including the bones that are required to make tiger bone wine. We understand that the Beijing company that is conducting the auction has made the unlikely claim that the wine was produced before China banned the trade in tiger bone products in 1993. However, old or new, this trade is forbidden by CITES. The sale of any tiger bone wine can only stimulate the demand for tiger products and the poaching of wild tigers.

We implore you not to allow this auction of tiger bone wine to take place and to honour the global ban in the trade of all tiger parts.

Yours sincerely,
Belinda Wright

Footnote:

WPSI commends the Chinese authorities for having stopped the auction, but we would like to stress that this is far from sufficient. The fact that such a publicized sale of tiger bone wine almost took place illustrates how prevalent the tiger trade is in China, and the lack of enforcement. We have since heard that the Chinese authorities have said that they cannot confiscate the wine, since it is privately owned and allegedly produced prior to the 1993 ban. Under the circumstances, it is highly likely that the source of the wine could have been wild tigers that were poached in India. Since this large stock of tiger bone wine has not being seized, it is also likely that it will eventually find its way back into the market.

China needs to do more to honour its commitment to end the tiger trade, whether in skins, bones or other products by getting off the fence on what it terms “legal” trade and by stopping all trade in all tiger products. The strongest message China could send to affluent would-be consumers would be to publically destroy the tiger bone wine that was put up for auction.

 

 

 

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