May 18, 2007
The UK-based John Aspinall Foundation charity has joined forces with European Parliamentarian Richard Ashworth MEP to call on the Chinese government to resist pressure to lift the international ban on the sale of tiger products.
The Chinese government is considering lifting the ban at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species meeting on June 3, 2007. China banned domestic sale of products in 1993, virtually wiping out the market for traditional medicines made from tigers in what was once the world's largest consumer of such goods. However, over the last 14 years more than 4,000 tigers have been bred in captivity on tiger farms.
Conservationists say that this will reawaken the market and encourage demand, threatening the futures of both these tigers and the estimated 7,000 left in the wild today.
James Osborne, chairman of the John Aspinall Foundation, has issued a statement: "China has taken strong action in the past to stop the trade in tiger parts, and it is crucial that it remains strong in the face of pressure from tiger farms. Lifting the ban would create a renewed demand for tiger parts and put the few remaining wild tigers in places like India and Siberia at risk from illegal poachers. We urge China to retain the ban so that the future of the tiger can be assured."
The John Aspinall Foundation manages Port Lympne and Howletts Wild Animal Parks in Kent in the United Kingdom, which are home to 14 Indian, Siberian and Sumatran tigers. Ashworth is a member of the European Parliament's Animal Welfare Intergroup, which monitors international animal welfare and conservation issues.