Chinese gangs involved in illegal tiger skin trading
Thursday 22nd October, 2009
Beijing authorities are still allowing the skin and body parts of tigers to be sold in Chinese markets.
The tiger skins from India, Myanmar and Nepal are being sold clandestinely while Beijing ignores repeated warnings from conservationists.
Undercover operations carried out by conservationist groups have proven a lack of enforcement by Chinese authorities in protecting
Buying and selling tiger products is illegal under Chinese law and the trade is also outlawed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, of which China is a signatory.
Over the course of a three-week investigation, carried out by the Environmental Investigation Agency, four full royal Bengal tiger skins, 12 leopard skins, 11 snow leopard skins and two clouded leopard skins, were recovered, along with dozens of bones and skulls.
The skins are sold as luxury items in China, where they fetch up to $22,000.
Bones, which are used in traditional Chinese medicines, sell for $1,200 per kilogram.
The trade, controlled by organised criminal networks, is destroying the global tiger population in the wild, which has been estimated at around 3,000.