World

Tigers still relentlessly trafficked and killed every year

18 Nov 2016 | By Supriya Kaur

According to latest reports, over a 100 tigers are still trafficked and killed each year.

Less than 4,000 tigers are left in the wild and tigers are believed to be on a 'precipice'.

A recent study from the organization, Traffic, has named countries like Thailand, Laos and Vietnam as amongst the world's top countries that continue to have 'tiger farms'.

In context: Endangered tigers are still at massive risk

BackgroundTigers still at huge risk

For the first time in 100 years, numbers of wild tiger numbers have increased marginally.

There are still only 3,890 tigers, and they remain at a huge risk.

Poaching has not abated: India alone reported 76 tigers were poached this year- the highest in 6 years.

'Tiger farms' in Southeast Asia encourage illegal tiger-trade and governments have failed to shut them.

AboutThe menace of 'tiger farms'

Reports that suggest that 100-110 tigers are killed and traded annually, derive this data from tiger-parts seized; however in reality the number is much higher since most of the endangered animal-trade is unreported.

Over 7000 tigers in farms are known to exist, mostly in China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Researchers say by keeping demand for tiger-parts high, farms also endanger lives of wild tigers.

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18 Nov 2016Tigers still relentlessly trafficked and killed every year

What are 'tiger farms'?

Tiger farms are places were tigers are bred at an intensive rate largely for tourist entertainment. They are also known to feed the black market's demand for "luxury items" such as skin, bones and other parts that some consider as status symbols.

Key remarks'Traffic' study's tiger analysis

Traffic, campaigns to protect endangered animals; their recent report is based on 'seizure data' over a 16-year period.

The report revealed that between 2012-2015, 30% of tiger parts that were seized came from captive tigers.

Given the seizure-data, the report observed tiger-farms are 'leaky'; it further said tiger-farms complicated enforcement activities by legitimizing the sale of tiger parts/products, driving up demand.

Why haven't tiger farms been shut down?

Despite repeated calls to shutdown 'tiger farms'; countries like Laos and Thailand fail miserably in effectively cracking down on illegal trade of endangered animals: chronic levels of corruption and lack of 'political will' have only resulted in temporary success.
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HowPutting an end to 'tiger farm' menace

In light of increasing pressure from animal rights' organizations, Laos recently announced that it would close tiger farms.

Thailand signalled ending commercial breeding at tiger-farms after a gruesome discovery of corpses of 40 cubs in Thailand's Tiger Temple.

Shutting down tiger-farming would ease pressure on enforcement agencies and help them focus on ending poaching and trafficking of endangered wild tigers.