Wednesday, January 27, 2010
China Scraps Plans To Legalise Trade in Tigers
China backs down from plan to legalise tiger trade
China has shelved plans to legalise trade in tiger parts and will instead increase its protection of wild tigers in a bid to save them from extinction.
The sale of bones, skins and other body parts was banned in China in 1993 in order to protect the country's declining tiger population. There are currently only between 18 and 24 wild tigers in China, down from over 4,000 in the 1950s.
However, officials from the State Forestry Administration (SFA) were on the verge of scrapping the ban last year, following pressure from China's tiger farms, who are keen to sell their stockpiles of farmed tiger parts.
Practitioners of Chinese medicine have traditionally ground tiger bones into a health tonic, while the penis is used to increase virility and the whiskers are said to cure toothache.
Chinese tiger farmers argued that the ban should be lifted because it was having no discernible effect in increasing the wild tiger population. However, the SFA has now said it will maintain the ban and increase policing.
A new directive promises to link local forestry bureaus with other law enforcement officials to prevent poaching, and will order the destruction of any tiger part stockpiles
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