A story in the Shanghai Daily underlines the huge disconnect between the conservation lie China spins around its tiger breeding operations and the grim commercial truth behind them.
Fewer than 50 wild tigers remain in China, close to 10,000 are held captive on huge commercial tiger farms where they are bred and then killed to make tiger bone wine and other tonic products. For every one wild tiger alive in the world today, there are three “farmed” tigers in China. Farming tigers for trade creates market demand for dead tigers and motivates poachers throughout Asia to keep slaughtering these majestic creatures.
An estimated 800 to 1,000 tigers are born on tiger farms each year. In these farms the tigers live lives of imprisonment in rows of squalid sheds, sometimes in perpetual darkness. The cubs are separated from their mothers at three months old so the mothers can breed again to produce more tigers for the farms. At around one year old they are killed and their bodies taken apart to be distributed for commercial gain. The captive tigers are often kept in miserable and cramped conditions with very little, if any, monitoring to make sure the animals health and welfare is considered.
Behind rusted bars, skeletal tigers lie panting on filthy concrete cage floors, covered in sores and untreated wounds. The bodies are so emaciated that they are little more than pitiful piles of fur and bones dying slowly from neglect and starvation. Death actually can come as a welcome release. [Source: Youth for Wildlife]
Harbin, 14 March 2014 – Xinhua: The world’s largest breeding center for Siberian tigers in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province plans to increase its population by 100 Siberian tiger cubs this year, sources with the center said on Friday …
The country has been trying to save the species through active breeding programs. The Heilongjiang center has bred more than 1,000 Siberian tigers since its establishment in 1986, when it had just eight of the large cats.
EIA Wildlife Campaigner Shruti Suresh responds: “Tiger farms and smaller facilities in China hold more than 5,000 – 6,000 tigers and counting in captivity, along with an extensive ‘stockpile’ of tiger carcasses, skins and bones.
“The announcement made by one of China’s largest tiger farms is not only a flagrant violation of international law and policy, but is wholly unscientific and ludicrous.
“Under CITES, China is required to ensure that tigers are not bred on a commercial scale and that action is taken by tiger farms in China (such as through segregation of sexes) so that the existing massive captive tiger population in China does not grow any further.
“Further, it is obvious that the centre/tiger farm in questions does not understand the scientific meaning of conservation breeding.
“There is no doubt that these tigers are NOT bred for conservation purposes. Indeed, EIA investigations have found that captive tigers in China are bred and kept for commercial reasons – specifically for the lucrative trade in their skins and bones.”
It’s already too late for the Balinese tiger and this is the only picture in existence:
The global population of tigers has fallen nearly 97% in the last century so that now there are thought be only 2,500 tigers left in the whole world. Of the 9 sub-species of tiger, 3 are already extinct, and all of the remaining 6 sub-species are now endangered, some critically so.
Tigers are forced to compete for space with dense human populations, face unrelenting pressure from poachers, suffer retaliatory or trophy killings and experience habitat loss across their ranges. All tigers, no matter where they live, seem to be under attack and threats against them continue to mount.
There were once 9 subspecies of tigers, but today there are only 6 remaining…the Royal Bengal, Indo-Chinese, Siberian (also called Amur), Malayan, South China and Sumatran. The Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers are now extinct. The world’s forests are lost at a rate of 36 football fields per minute, according to the World Wildlife Federation. This extensive habitat loss has forced wild tigers to live in small, isolated areas of their remaining habitat, making it harder for them to reproduce. Increased road networks also leaves them more vulnerable to the wrath of poachers and overhunting of tiger prey species. [Source: Youth for Wildlife]
Siberian tiger in severe decline with only 56 left in wild
Hunters threaten Sumatran tiger with only 400 to 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild
Click here for a detailed and informative article
Cat Watch on illegal tiger trade and why tigers are walking gold
Article in The Guardian about tiger bone wine
Please help by signing and sharing these petitions:
Tigers Reduced to Skin and Bones
Shut down China’s tiger farms
Close all tiger farms in China
Dark secret of the farm where tigers bodies are plundered
Tigers in farms at risk due to malnutrition could be wiped out by a simple virus like distemper
What is wrong with tiger farms
China stop selling tiger wine