WWF Insider: Stop Breeding Tigers in Cages

In Wildlife

China and Thailand are the world’s biggest perpetrators of tiger farms. © Anton Vorauer / WWF

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The top countries with tiger farms are dragging their feet on this issue.

Last week, the world had an opportunity to address tiger farming for good, but objections from China and Vietnam – the world’s top two countries involved in tiger trade – ended all hopes on this.

China and Thailand are the world’s biggest perpetrators of tiger farms.
© Anton Vorauer / WWF

Tiger breeding centres in Asia have increased at an astounding rate over the last 15 years, despite calls to end tiger breeding for commercial purposes and phase out tiger farms.

More than 200 centres across Asia house between 7,000-8,000 captive tigers – far more than the estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
© Staffan Widstrand / WWF
Tigers in captivity at a tiger temple in Thailand.
© WWF / James Morgan
Closure of tiger farms would significantly boost efforts to save the world’s remaining wild tigers.
© Souvik Kundu / WWF
Left: Singye Wangmo, 31, Senior Forestry Officer at Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. WWF is calling on governments across Asia to investigate all tiger breeding centres and close any operations proven to be involved in the illegal tiger trade.
© Simon Rawles / WWF-UK; © naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF

The discussion on Asian big cats came up at CITES last week, and we had hoped for strong decisions by Parties that would strengthen legislation, improve law enforcement, look to phase out tiger farms and reduce demand for tiger parts and products.

The (not-so-good) result: 

China and Vietnam questioned the two reports on looking at tiger farms and reviewing implementation of the resolution on tiger trade.
© Anton Vorauer / WWF
“The parts and products of over 1,755 tigers were seized in Asia between 2000 and 2015, and recently, a third of those seizures were thought to come from captive facilities”, said Heather Sohl, current lead of WWF’s global tiger conservation programme.
© Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden

What can be done now?

Our stand is clear: We cannot afford to delay actions urgently needed to address tiger farms, which are fuelling demand for illegal tiger trade.
© Jamie Cotten / IFAW / WWF-US
“Governments should not wait until May 2019 to act and can implement the best practice highlighted in the reviews to improve legislation, strengthen law enforcement, reduce demand, phase out tiger farms.” added Heather Sohl, current lead of WWF’s global tiger conservation programme.
© Souvik Kundu / WWF
Best practices include employing enforcement tools such as photo identification and forensic analysis to better understand how wild tigers can be protected.
© Emmanuel Rondeau / WWF-UK

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