Brendan Moyle has previously provided us with alternative ways to save tigers from extinction.
Now the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies states that tiger parts are not necessary for traditional medicines, and alternatives are available and effective. Can this statement from the organisation save tigers?
Excerpts from an opinion letter to the Los Angeles Times , by Vinod Thomas, director general of the Independent Evaluation Group at the World Bank states :
“How has the tiger’s fate come to this? The foremost reason is poaching to meet demand for tiger products used in traditional medicines in China and other parts of East Asia. The other crucial factor is the continuous loss of tiger habitat, which is down by about 40% across India in the last decade, along with which has disappeared much of its prey.
“To make matters worse, there now is relentless pressure from tiger farmers in East Asia to legalize the trade in the bones, fur, paws, penis and teeth of their animals. On the surface, the case made for legalizing the sale of tiger parts is beguiling. By flooding the market with parts from farm-raised tigers, it’s argued, prices will plummet, reducing the profitability of poaching. A cited analogy: People don’t hunt wild turkeys for Thanksgiving when supermarkets overflow with farmed supplies.
“But to reduce poaching, those who raise tigers in captivity would need to undercut the cost of supplying the parts from wild tigers. That’s improbable. Poaching in India, by poisoning or with simple steel traps, costs less than $100 a tiger (plus transport and other costs). Raising one in captivity — even three or more to a cage — costs about $3,000.
“Conservationists warn that legalizing the tiger trade would be the death knell for tigers in the wild. That’s because it will always be cheaper to hunt tigers, and poaching will be less risky if poached parts can be easily laundered — that is, passed off as coming from captive-bred animals”.
“It is essential to deal with poaching and the demand for tiger parts in traditional medicine immediately. The World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies states that tiger parts are not necessary for traditional medicines, and alternatives are available and effective. So there are solid reasons to strongly enforce the international ban on the tiger trade, and for China to keep its 1993 domestic ban securely in place.”
“As the symbol of countries, teams and corporations, the tiger has helped sell beer, sports goods and breakfast cereal. Now it could use some high-profile reciprocity. Support from private corporations — such as Exxon Mobil’s Save the Tiger Fund — as well as the Asian business diaspora and international agencies could prove decisive. But the moment for action is now. Without immediate financial and political commitments, it will be too late to save this mesmerizing animal”
So can the tigers survive with the help of Exxon Mobile , that Greenpeace has proclaimed as the “Criminal # 1 of the Planet”?