Nepal, India no to trade in tiger parts

Kathmandu, June 15:

Nepal today joined hands with India and Bhutan in opposing Beijing’s plea to legalise trade of tiger parts in China.

According to a press release issued by the WWF and TRAFFIC International, Nepal opposed the proposed lifting of the ban on trade on tiger parts in a conference on Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) being held in the Netherlands.

“Three countries with wild tigers — India, Nepal and Bhutan — were joined by the United States in calling on China to phase out the country’s privately run “tiger farms” that house around 5,000 tigers and are pressing the Chinese government to stop trade in tiger parts,” the release states.

It said that raising tigers for trade was opposed by CITES member countries and China was urged to phase out its large-scale commercial tiger farms, a major victory for wild tiger conservationists.

“India spoke out strongly and courageously for their wild tigers, along with Bhutan and Nepal,” said Dr Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF’s Global Species Programme.

“A legal market in China for products made from farmed tigers would increase demand and allow criminals to ‘launder’ products made from tigers poached from the wild,” said Steven Broad, the Executive Director of TRAFFIC International. WWF and TRAFFIC, along with other organisations working on tigers, have offered guidance and technical support to China on shutting down its tiger farms and stepping up law enforcement efforts to stamp out illegal trade of tiger parts.

Habitat loss and intense poaching of tigers and their prey, combined with inadequate government efforts to maintain tiger populations, have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of the animals. These big cats now occupy just seven per cent of their historical range, according to the BioScience paper. And the possibility that China could reopen trade in parts harvested from farmed tigers represents a new threat, the authors say.