Poaching and Tiger Trafficking

As if habitat loss was not enough, tigers and numerous other species of endangered wildlife also have to contend with POACHING. Regardless of the tigers’ classification as a “Critically Endangered” species, the demand for its parts has drastically increased at an alarming rate since the end of the 20th Century. The tiger is primarily killed to supply underground black markets with its organs, pelts and bones. These items are highly regarded in eastern medicine, claiming to posse’s capabilities to heal all sorts of human illnesses and dysfunctions. In addition, this regal and magnificent symbol of nature’s beauty and power is hunted recreationally for sport/trophies, perceived fear, and just out-rite ignorance! Unfortunately, poaching is not isolated to any one subspecies or population. All tigers, no matter where they live, seem to be under attack!
  • Poaching is one of the most immediate threats to wild tigers. In relentless demand, their parts are used for traditional medicine, folk remedies, and increasingly as a status symbol among some Asian cultures.
  • Tigers are also illegally killed or poached because their pelts are valuable on the black market.
  • Regardless of the street value, those engaged in the criminal activity of poaching rarely see any more than 10 percent of the actual black market value.
  • Poaching is directed by increasingly sophisticated and well-armed criminal gangs and is estimated to be worth in excess of 22 billion Canadian dollars per year.
  • The demand for tiger skins and tiger bone wine is booming as wealthy businessmen buy these goods to prove their wealth. These products are also used as bribes for promotions within corporations.
  • In order to catch a tiger, steel traps are laid in known tiger trails. Once trapped the animal is left to struggle all night long so that it is exhausted from its attempts to escape and then a simple blow from a heavy stick is sufficient to kill the animal.
  • Poachers also use poisoned carcasses of a tiger’s prey to kill them. In the hot season they dig shallow pools and fill them with poisoned water.
It is quite apparent through governmental seizures that the import and exportation of tiger parts is a sizable business. It is astonishing to think how many tigers are killed to support this evil trade. In 1990, over 4,180 pounds of tiger bones were exported from Taiwan to Japan. Documented records from the Korean government state that over 8700 pounds of tiger bones were imported into South Koreas from Indonesia. In Asia, parts other than the bones are used in mythological medicine. This includes the tiger’s eyes, hair, internal organs and even tiger penis (which is used in a soup as an aphrodisiac). In Hong Kong black markets, venders sell a pound of powdered tiger humorous bone sells for over $1700. Keep in mind that all of these so-called treatments are completely unproven by science and have absolutely no real medical value.

You would think with today’s science and global communication abilities that people would come to their senses! What kind of person does it take to actually believe that eating a tiger’s brain will cure pimples and or laziness? How can a person living in the 21th Century really believe that consuming the cat’s whiskers will prevent toothaches?