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Conservationists welcome CITES support to end tiger farming

 

Johannesburg, 29 September 2016

During discussions at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), India, Nepal, the USA, EU and Lao PDR overuled a proposal from China to delete a Decision to end tiger farming. China was alone in suggesting that the Decision, which states that “tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives”, should be “retired”.
 
There are fewer than 4,000 wild tigers remaining, with populations functionally extinct in some range States. The conservation of wild tigers requires action to end all trade in tiger parts and derivatives, and reduce and eventually eliminate demand for these products. Trade in parts and derivatives of captive bred tigers continues to be a threat, perpetuating the desirability of tiger products and stimulating poaching of wild tigers and other Asian big cats. Undeniably, wild tigers are doing best in range States where they are not considered a commodity and where they are not bred for trade in their parts and derivatives.

Following on from a Ministerial annoucement last Friday, the delegation from Lao PDR elaborated on the government’s intention to work with technical experts to phase out tiger farms. Lao PDR is the first of the tiger-farming countries to declare their intention to finally implement Decision 14.69. While welcoming this announcement, we recognise that Lao PDR is home to transnational organised criminal networks that are exploiting weak legislation and enforcement. A signifcant investment of political and financial commitment to root out corruption and complacency is essential to turn words in to action.

Also approved today were a suite of Decisions that will continue a thorough review of efforts to improve legislation and enforcment, and will put facilities that keep and breed tigers and other Asian big cats for commercial purposes under greater scrutiny. Additionally, there was support in principle for a proposal from India which encourages countries that make seizures of tiger skins to share photos of these with range states, to facilitate investigations into the origin of the skins.

Avinash Basker of the Wildlife Protection Society of India said “The fact that there was no support for the proposal to delete Decision 14.69 is a really encouraging sign. It shows that almost all Parties are convinced that the breeding of tigers for their parts and derivatives is a serious conservation threat to wild tigers.


 

 

 

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