A recent report from FOUR PAWS International shines a light on the farming and trading of wild tigers and other big cats in South Africa. It then describes the ineffective regulations that are leading to the illegal trade of wildlife and the importance of protecting tigers from going extinct. FOUR PAWS also asks for South Africa to stop exporting these majestic creatures and their body parts.
“Under the convention of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), parties have agreed on a decision that states that tigers should not be intensively bred for a trade in their body parts. It is clear that South Africa is overtly allowing tigers and other big cats to be intensively for a trade in their body parts. This is unacceptable as the farming of tiger for commercial trade has detrimental effects on wild tiger populations,” stated Kieran Harkin, the principal author of the report.
The report was published on February 1, which signifies the beginning of the Year of the Tiger in China.
A large amount of these captive tigers and their body parts are being shipped to other countries for profit. Four Paws discovered that over 350 tigers were exported in the 2010’s alone. There were also 54 tiger “trophies” exported during the same period.
Since the regulations are so inadequate, a breeding ground for “illegal networks” has been allowed to flourish.
“Breeders, taxidermists, agents, slaughterhouses, and foreign buyers – to name a few – are all active in exporting live animals, big cat parts and derivatives from South Africa to known wildlife trade hotspots around the world,” stated Fiona Miles, the director of FOUR PAWS in South Africa.
Besides tigers, a new report shows evidence that there’s a large amount of other big cats being traded, including “lions, leopards and jaguars.”
FOUR PAWS is urging the international community to come together to save big cats and include all five of them in future legislation. For South Africa, they proposed having more law enforcement at certain checkpoints and allowing current “owners” of the animals to keep them, but give them a more natural life and not breed them.
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