|China Fails to Stop Tiger Trade
New Delhi – 22 October 2009
the message of a new report published by the Environmental
Investigation Agency, which recently conducted undercover
investigations into the illegal big cat skin and bone trade in China.
has really run out of excuses. They tell us they are doing their best,
but we have been warning them about this for years and there are still
huge gaps in their enforcement effort. If they can put a man into
space, they can do more to save the wild tiger’, said Debbie Banks,
Lead Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency.
report comes just days before a high level summit in Kathmandu where
delegations from tiger range countries, including India and China, will
meet to thrash out a roadmap for Asian big cat conservation.
as luxury items for home décor or clothing in Tibet and China, tiger
skins fetch around US$11,660 – $21,860 each, while bones, which are
used for traditional medicine, sell for $1,250 per kilo. Large amounts
of money are involved in the trade, which is controlled by organised
Over the course of a three week investigation
in July and August this year, EIA was offered 4 full tiger skins, 12
leopard skins, 11 snow leopard skins and 2 clouded leopard skins, along
with dozens of pieces of skin, bones and skulls. At a horse festival in
Tibet, a further 9 people were seen wearing tiger skins, and 25 wearing
leopard skins, in full view of the local authorities.
selling Asian big cats parts and derivatives is illegal under Chinese
law, and the international trade is outlawed under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), of which China is a
member. Most of the big cat skins sold in China are sourced from
neighbouring countries such as India, Burma and Nepal.
some law enforcement in China, in a few regions, but there are whole
swathes of the country where this trade is allowed to carry on with
almost no fear of detection. A mixture of corruption and apathy is
helping to decimate endangered species and is indicative of what is
happening to the wider environment,’ said Alasdair Cameron of EIA.
2004, the Environmental Investigation Agency has conducted yearly
investigations into the Asian big cats skin and body part trade in
China, and while the market has declined in some areas, this has
largely been due to the collapse of demand amongst the majority of the
Tibetan community, as opposed to efforts by the Chinese government.