‘Sky-rocketing’ tiger trade blamed on Asian wealth

2014-08-13 11:47


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A leading conservationist warns that the illegal trade in tiger parts for medicinal purposes is increasing, despite improved efforts to save the world's largest cat.

Alan Rabinowitz, who runs the Panthera conservation group, blames the growing wealth of many Asian countries for the problem, saying tiger parts are viewed as a status symbol.

Despite continued campaigns to save one of the world's iconic Big Cats, the trade in illegal tiger parts is actually increasing. So says leading conservationist Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, which runs tiger preservation projects in Asia.

He blames the multi-billion dollar illegal trade in wildlife animals, driven by rising demands from Asia's new wealthy class

"For the Asian medicinal trade and specifically the Chinese medicinal trade has just been increasing. It's been sky-rocketing, really. It's been moving along with the increasing wealth of China and a lot of other Asian countries."

100 000 tigers roamed the earth a century ago. Now they number barely 3 000.

Rabinowitz says the region's governments must do more to protect the species.

"Areas which still have tigers have to better protect their tigers. They have to lock up those areas with almost zero tolerance for poaching, for encroachment, for killing of the tigers' food."

Six subspecies of tigers still exist, but three have gone extinct in the past 80 years.

Without concerted international action, Rabinowitz fears for the future of one of the world's iconic predators.

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