GUWAHATI, July 29 - On the occasion of International Tiger Day today, NGO Aaranyak has joined 45 international organizations working for conservation in raising the alarm against increasing tiger poaching and calling for an end to all kinds of tiger farming and tiger trade.
Disturbingly, the wild tiger population has declined by over 95 per cent over the last 100 years. The year 2016 also marked a significant upsurge in tiger poaching and trade. In India, more tigers were killed in the first five months of 2016 than in the whole of 2015.
On the occasion of Tiger Day, 45 NGOs from around the globe released a joint statement urging countries with tiger farms to adopt urgent action to end tiger breeding for commercial purposes and phase out tiger farms.
The statement reveals that at present, the global wild tiger population is estimated to be less than 4,000. �These last remaining wild tigers are threatened by trade for nearly all their body parts � from skins and bones to teeth and claws � traded by criminals for huge profit. These products are consumed largely as exotic luxury products for demonstrating social status, such as tiger skin rugs for luxury home decor or expensive tiger bone wine. Tiger bone is also consumed as traditional medicine. The main markets for tiger products are the consumers in China and Vietnam, followed by smaller consumer markets in Myanmar and Laos,� it said.
Pointing out that there were currently two primary sources for trade in tiger parts and products � wild tigers in ten range countries that are home to the last remaining wild tigers, and captive tigers largely found in four tiger farming countries of China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam � the statement said that tiger farming and trade in captive tiger body parts from and through those countries undermined tiger conservation efforts across Asia.
�Indeed, the trade in captive tiger parts and products stimulates demand for tiger products � be it from wild or captive tigers � and undermines enforcement efforts by making it difficult to know whether seized tiger products come from wild or captive tigers. Tiger farms have expanded rapidly over the last few decades. In the four tiger farming countries alone, there are approximately 7,000 -8,000 captive tigers in large tiger farms, zoos and smaller facilities that keep or breed tigers,� it added.
The organizations also commended the recent bold enforcement efforts of Thailand�s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), which in June 2016 seized 137 live tigers, thousands of tiger skin amulets, 70 preserved cubs and other tiger parts from the �Tiger Temple� in Kanchanaburi Province.
Aaranyak has been assisting tiger conservation in northeastern India through camera-trapping, ecological monitoring and non-invasive scat DNA tools to enhance the NTCA�s effort to protect the national animal of India.