Tuesday, June 26, 2007

China's move to restart tiger parts trade will encourage poachers, says expert

Washington, June 25: Tigers in China face a renewed threat in the wake of the government deciding to reopen trade in tiger parts.

According to Wang Wei, an official attached with the Department of Wildlife Conservation of the State Forestry Administration, dead tiger parts should not be allowed to go waste.

"It will be a waste if the resources of dead tigers are not used for traditional medicine," the China Daily quoted Wang Wei, as saying.

The announcement comes after Chinese proposals to raise captive tigers for trade were rejected at last week's meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Reacting to this latest development in China, tiger expert Monirul Khan has warned that this would encourage poachers and the belief in traditional Chinese medicine, which has no scientific basis.

Khan of Jahangirnagar University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is working to minimise tiger-human conflict in the Sunderbans, and he has been advocating the "use of pet dogs" as an effective medium for reducing tiger attacks.

In a report compiled for the Save the Tiger Fund and published this week, he estimates tiger numbers in the Bangladeshi part of the Sunderbans at around 200, more or less the same as it has been for 20 years.

With the Indian Sunderbans home to some 100 to 150 tigers, the forest represents one of the largest unfragmented populations in the world.

"The terrain is very rough, so the tigers have natural protection," Khan says


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