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LATEST CHINA TIGER NEWS May 18, 2007 3:53 AM

Check out whats happening in the world of the Tiger in CHINA!

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CHINA TIGER NEWS - Dog nurses Tiger Triplets at China Zoo May 18, 2007 3:54 AM

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Dog Nurses Tiger Triplets at China ZooThe Associated Press
 In this photo released by China´s Xinhua News Agency, a dog feeds  tiger triplets and her own puppy, right, at the Paomaling Zoo in Jinan, capital of east China´s Shandong Province, Wednesday, May 16, 2007. The tiger triplets were rejected by their mother shortly after their birth. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Lu Chuanquan)br /
Lu Chuanquan
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a dog feeds tiger triplets and her own puppy, right, at the Paomaling Zoo in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Wednesday, May 16, 2007. The tiger triplets were rejected by their mother shortly after their birth. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Lu Chuanquan)

BEIJING - It's a dog's life for three newborn tiger triplets in eastern China. The cubs, whom officials at the Jinan Paomaling Wild Animal World in Shandong province are so far just calling "One," "Two" and "Three," have been nursed by a dog since they were rejected by their tiger mother shortly after birth, said Paomaling manager Chen Yucai.

The trio's adoptive mother, a mixed breed farm dog called "Huani," is expected to nurse them for about a month or until their appetites outpace her supply, Chen said.

Chen said it is common for Chinese zoos to use surrogate dog mothers to nurse rejected tiger cubs and that Huani has nursed tigers before.

In the past, Paomaling put dog urine on their rejected cub's fur to make the surrogate think she was nursing one of her own puppies but the zoo didn't bother with Huani because she seemed not to mind nursing the tigers, he said.

"The family is getting along well and seems to enjoy each other," Chen said.

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CHINA TIGER NEWS - The John Aspinall Foundation joins campaign May 18, 2007 7:53 AM

The John Aspinall Foundation joins campaign against lifting Chinese ban on tiger parts

The John Aspinall Foundation
(WebWire) 5/17/2007 12:20:31 PM

  Related Topics    • Environment  

17 May 2007

The John Aspinall Foundation has joined wildlife and conservation charities across the world to call on the Chinese government to resist pressure to lift the international ban on the sale of tiger products.

The UK-based charity has joined forces with European Parliamentarian Richard Ashworth MEP to raise awareness of the campaign across Europe. Mr. Ashworth is a member of the European Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup, which monitors international animal welfare and conservation issues.

The Chinese government is considering lifting the ban at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITE meeting on 3 June 2007.

China banned domestic sale of products in 1993, virtually wiping out the market for traditional medicines made from tigers in what was once the world’s largest consumer of such goods. However, over the last 14 years more than 4,000 tigers have been bred in captivity on ‘tiger farms’. These farms are now putting pressure on the Chinese government to lift the ban and allow them to sell tiger products once more.

Conservationists say that this will reawaken the market and encourage demand, threatening the futures of both these tigers and the estimated 7,000 left in the wild today.

James Osborne, Chairman of The John Aspinall Foundation says:

”China has taken strong action in the past to stop the trade in tiger parts, and it is crucial that it remains strong in the face of pressure from tiger farms.

“Lifting the ban would create a renewed demand for tiger parts and put the few remaining wild tigers in places like India and Siberia at risk from illegal poachers.

“We urge China to retain the ban so that the future of the tiger can be assured.”

The John Aspinall Foundation manages Port Lympne and Howletts Wild Animal Parks in Kent, which are home to 14 Indian, Siberian and Sumatran tigers. It also supports a number of conservation projects overseas to protect endangered species.

www.totallywild.net/jaf/index.php

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India gets support to reduce tiger farming June 12, 2007 9:54 AM

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The Times of India -Breaking news, views. reviews, cricket from across IndiaIndia gets support to reduce tiger farming
12 Jun, 2007 l 0138 hrs ISTlNitin Sethi/TIMES NEWS NETWORK

SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates
NEW DELHI: The Indian delegation at The Hague won part of the battle to save the tiger at the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITE by getting Nepal to support a document it submitted on Monday against China's proposal to open up farming of captive bred tigers.

It has also got Russia and China to agree to the document which will urge the 100-plus nations there to bring captive breeding of tigers to a level which doesn't harm them in the wild. After hectic parleys with Russian, Chinese delegates through the day, the Indian delegation was able to convince both to accept India's submission to the CITES secretariat.

It is seen as a huge victory for India that China has accepted a document that in principle could work against its idea of farming captive bred tigers.

Member countries to the convention will decide if China's proposal to allow farming of tigers should be accepted. Sources in the Indian delegation told TOI that the real test would be on Tuesday when the member countries vote on the issue. "We still have to watch out for how China works its position on our proposal on Tuesday," said a senior official part of the Indian delegation.

But the fact that China, along with Russia, agreed to a document asking for reduction in captive breeding came as a pleasant surprise to the delegation as India was initially working to submit such a proposal without consulting China. But upon a suggestion from the CITES secretariat, the delegation approached Russia and China, which influence the voting pattern at CITES to a great extent along with the US by the might of their economic influence.

With India convincing another country with tigers in the wild, Nepal, to agree to its position, it's already secured a strong position against China.

Under CITES regulations, China can't go ahead with farming unless all countries with tigers in the wild agree to its proposal. Sources said the Indian delegation was still working with other crucial members ahead of the vote on Tuesday. Earlier, the US, another big player in the convention as it supports and funds conservation in several African and other countries, too came out against the Chinese proposal.
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Chinese Restaurant served banned tiger meat June 13, 2007 10:19 AM

'Chinese restaurant served banned tiger meat'
    June 13 2007 at 01:46AM

By Alister Doyle

The Hague - Genetic experts have found evidence a restaurant in China has served tiger meat in defiance of a 1993 ban, a United Nations expert said on Tuesday.

John Sellar, the senior enforcement officer for the Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITE, said the tiger farm he visited in China "vehemently denied" serving big cat meat in a linked restaurant.

But evidence compiled after he visited the Guangxi Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Garden this year backed up a report by Britain's ITN television that the restaurant had tiger on the menu, he told a CITES meeting.

'The farm we visited is actively hoping to take part in trade'Sellar sent a copy of a genetic laboratory report made on a sample of meat obtained by ITN to experts at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, who confirmed the study was properly carried out and the results matched tiger DNA, he said.

China has said it is investigating the charges. All international trade in tiger meat is banned under CITES and China outlawed all domestic sales in 1993.

Beijing told CITES last week it would allow trade in parts from captive-bred tigers if a scientific review proved the step would reduce poaching and help tigers worldwide.

China says it has 5 000 captive tigers in farms, by some experts' estimates more than the total left in the wild across Asia after decades of hunting and destruction of habitats.

Neighbouring nations including India fear sales could mean more poaching in the region - if sales are legal in China, it probably costs less to shoot an Indian tiger and transport it to China than to raise it from a cub in a Chinese farm.

"The farm we visited is actively hoping to take part in trade," Sellar said. "Of greater concern is that this facility has begun to engage in trade in tigers."

Tiger bones have long been a valued ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine used in the forms of wines, powder, balms and pills to cure illnesses ranging from rheumatism to general weakness, headaches and paralysis.

China joined India, Nepal and Russia in a draft document on Tuesday at CITES saying countries should limit farmed populations to "a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers".

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Recent sighting holds hope for China's wild tigers June 13, 2007 11:43 AM

Recent Sighting Holds Hope for China’s Wild Tigers
ChinaWatch Logo China Watch HomeAbout China Watch

For the first time ever, scientists recently captured clear footage of a wild Indo-Chinese tiger in a nature reserve in China’s southeastern Yunnan Province. The researchers used infrared cameras as part of wildlife monitoring and protection project supported jointly by the Xishuangbanna National Nature Conservation Protected Areas Management in Shangyong, Beijing Normal University Institute of Ecology, and the International Species Protection Project.

According to field studies and research from the late 1990s, the population of Indo-Chinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti ) in Yunnan is extremely low, and the tiger has disappeared from some areas of the province altogether. Until now, no definitive evidence had surfaced for nearly ten years to prove that the tiger still existed in the wild in southwestern China, although field researchers had recorded footprints and other clues indicating the large cat’s presence in the region.

Wang Bin, managing researcher at the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Shangyong, and Beijing Normal University doctoral student Feng Limin have led the Shangyong Biodiversity Protection Effectiveness Monitoring Project since 2005. They discovered Indo-Chinese tiger footprints in the Shangyong protected area and set up infrared cameras using field survey methodologies to try to record and monitor potential activity of the cat and other wild animals.

The recent live footage of the tiger confirms the existence of an adult female, and experts believe this is powerful evidence that the Indo-Chinese tiger still exists in the wild within the boundaries of Yunnan Province. It also indicates the success of work at the national, provincial, and community levels to protect Xishuangbanna’s natural areas from poachers, primarily through anti-poaching patrols and positive public participation from communities living on the periphery of the protected area.

Experts with the International Species Protection Project note that the discovery of the Indo-Chinese tiger in the wild may indicate that the tiger’s population is stabilizing and becoming healthier—proving that the protective status of Xishuangbanna is working and that local ecosystems are still functioning. However, tiger and other wild animal populations in Asia continue to decline in the face of threats like illegal hunting and habitat destruction from logging, industrial farming, and tree plantations. Protecting the tiger’s habitat and saving it from extinction in the wild will require not just Chinese efforts, but transnational cooperation with the neighboring countries of Burma and Laos.

China’s wild tiger situation is still very precarious. Currently, four subspecies in the country—the Northeast China tiger, the South China tiger, the Indo-Chinese tiger, and the Bengal tiger—have wild populations below 50 individuals. While the protection of their natural habitat is key to the survival of these animals, time is pressing and the danger of extinction remains a strong possibility. It is critical that we seize this moment to continue anti-poaching, conserve habitats, and increase investment so that China can protect its wild tiger populations from complete extinction.

Li Zhang is Ph.D. & Associate Professor with Institute of Ecology, Beijing Normal University.Outside contributions to China Watch reflect the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of the Worldwatch Institute.


China Watch is a joint initiative of the Worldwatch Institute and Beijing-based Global Environmental Institute (GEI) and is supported by the blue moon fund.

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Roarrrr Tigress Angelina swats at starlets June 14, 2007 10:40 AM

Roarrrr! Tigress Angelina swats at starlets

Angelina Jolie is featured in July's Esquire dissing self-absorbed starlets and talking about saving endangered tigers.


She is the champion of many good causes ... and now she's on a mission to save the endangered Asian tiger.

In the July issue of Esquire magazine, which hits newsstands today, Angelina Jolie purrs, "I have an animal sanctuary in Cambodia. I'll protect the tigers. But I do like a steak. That's my diet."

But it seems the screen goddess doesn't have much patience when it comes to the travails of superficial starlets.

Her global cause-seeking started after a visit to Sierra Leone in 2001 when she "realized how completely naive I was to think I had a difficult life. It was as if someone slapped me across the face and said, 'Oh, my God, you silly young woman from California, do you have any idea how difficult the world really is for so many people?' I got out of myself pretty quickly."

Patrick Huguenin

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Zoo tiger killed by exhibit mate June 27, 2007 9:35 AM

Atascadero zoo tiger killed by exhibit mate

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

 
Dont be squeamish about tiger bones July 08, 2007 3:28 PM

Official: don't be squeamish about tiger bonesBy (Xinhua)
Updated: 2007-07-08 18:24

HARBIN -- With many conservationists up in arms about China's desire to resume trade in tiger bones, a Chinese Forestry official has stated that not using tiger parts is a huge waste, and Western experts who insist on a ban fail to understand traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese culture.

Wang Wei, deputy director of the Department of Wildlife Conservation under the State Forestry Administration (SFA), reiterated his opposition to the ban on trade in tiger parts at the International Workshop on Strategy for Tiger Conservation held Saturday in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. The workshop was organized by the SFA and attended by some 80 experts from China and abroad.

China joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITE in 1981, and imposed a ban on the harvesting of tiger bones in 1993. Later, tiger bones were deleted from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dictionaries.

"Tiger bone was taken out of the dictionaries but that doesn't mean we think they have no medicinal value. Tiger bones have been a key item in Chinese traditional medicine for several thousand years, and not using them is a huge waste," Wang said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

TCM regards the tiger as an exceptional medical resource -- tiger urine is used to treat eye infections, for example, and tiger bones to treat rheumatism.

"All animals die, and there should be no problem using the bones of captive-bred tigers that died from natural causes," he said.

There are now 5,000 captive-bred tigers in China, and 1,000 tigers are being bred on a yearly basis. Many experts say that the tiger breeding technology has matured in China, and it's time to rethink reintroducing and using the bones of the captive-tigers."

Their argument was backed by some TCM experts. Cao Ziqing, a researcher from the Beijing Chaoyangmen Hospital, said "human organs are being transplanted, so why can't dead captive-bred tigers be used as medicine? This (ban on the use of tiger bone) shows a lack of respect for human health and human lives."

The Chinese government has been bombarded with calls from within China to remove the ban on tiger parts, but there is a lot of pressure from international groups to keep the ban in place.

Wang told Xinhua that "we are very prudent and cautious, and we will not make hasty decisions. We are still carrying out research and soliciting the views of other countries, and the ban will not be lifted in the near future."

The push for lifting the ban has met with bitter opposition from groups that insist legalizing trade in tiger bone for medicinal purposes would stimulate demand for tiger products and increase illegal poaching of wild tigers.

Urs Breitenmoser, Co-chair of the IUCN/SSC (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources/Species Survival Commission) Cat Specialist Group, said "We are all in the same boat. No country, including China, can make decisions affecting the existence of a species and take risks on behalf of humanity."

"What is important right now is to maintain the ban, bring people together and work out a solution. China cannot simply go its own way regardless of others," he said.

But other experts see things differently. "Trade is a factor affecting wild tigers but it is not the only issue," said Eugene Lapointe, President of the IWMC (International Wildlife Management Consortium) World Conservation Trust.

"China can work out the best time to lift the ban. The trade ban is not the be-all and end-all, what is essential is to protect the natural habitat of wild tigers," he said.

Dr. V. Santhakumr, associate professor of the Center for Development Studies in India, said China should carefully open the market and tiger bone medicine should only be sold in authorized institutions.

While the experts argue about the best way to protect the endangered carnivore, Chinese tiger farm owners facing a financial crisis can't wait to see the ban lifted.

Wang Ligang, general manager of the Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park, said Chinese law and the CITES did not forbid the park from disposing of dead tigers.

"From our perspective, if the ban really does protect wild tigers globally, then our losses are a big contribution to international wild tiger protection and we should be compensated by the international community," he said.

"We have been very successful in breeding the tigers, but this ill thought-out ban is extremely costly for us," Wang said.

Some international groups have suggested the government halt the breeding of captive tigers and start phasing out the farms. They insist captive-bred tigers have never been successfully released into the wild due to gene inefficiencies.

"The parks were set up according to Chinese law, " said Wang Wei, citing the Law on the Protection of Wildlife.

"With strict controls and management of the processing of bones, and tougher law enforcement, the ban can be removed and it will not affect the wild tiger population," he added.

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Can you feel the love? July 14, 2007 2:11 AM

He may be an endangered stud, but cat-walk love leaves him cold Jonathan Clayton in Laohu Valley Reserve Even tigers hesitate before leaping into the unknown. That was the only explanation offered yesterday for a huge letdown in performance by a majestic male named Stud 327. No-one was more disappointed than the spurned female – a South China tigress by the name of Cathay, who has waited four years for the opportunity to save one of the world’s most threatened species from extinction. She bounded towards her prospective mate, cuffed his legs playfully, and then lay submissively on the ground whining – all to no avail. Her advances were met by angry roars and grunts as her panic-stricken beau tried in vain to reenter his cage. “I think it has all been a bit too much for him . . . this whole thing is going to take time,” said Peter Openshaw, the manager of the Laohu Valley Reserve in South Africa where one of the most daring – and controversial – experiments in conservation is under way. In addition to the breeding programme, the tigers are being taught to hunt wild animals – skills that the conservationists hope will be passed on to any cubs before they can be released into the wild in China. Li Quan, the architect of the experiment, was less forgiving of the stud’s performance. “Maybe he’s a wimp,” the glamorous former fashion executive quipped. “I hope he gets his act together.” With an understanding transcending species, Mr Openshaw generously explained that Stud 327 – named after his registration number in the International Zoological Association’s Studbook Registry – has had his life turned upside down in the past two months. Born in captivity, he was flown at the end of last April from Suzhou Zoo in China to Africa and placed in a large enclosure in full view of several female tigers who stalk and catch their own prey in large fenced-in enclosures. Until that point he had more contact with humans than fellow tigers, let alone rampant females whose return to the wild has seen them throw off the inhibitions of zoo life. Unlike Siberian and Bengal tigers, there are no recorded cases of a successful breeding in captivity of South China tigers, now most threatened of all. Hence, their arrival in South Africa – the only place where there is enough land, prey and – crucially – wildlife expertise available to simulate a truly “wild” environment. The four tigers form part of what is called a “rewilding and breeding” programme. They are being taught to hunt and kill again in the hope that they can then pass on their newly discovered skills to offspring that can be returned into the wild. There are only an estimated 10-30 South China tigers left in the wild, but there has been no sighting for years. A further 6,000 survive in zoos across the world. In 2002, the tigers were even declared extinct by the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN, the World Conservation Union. Li Quan, dismissed as a wealthy dilettante by some, had other ideas. With the help of her London-based investment banker husband, Stuart Bray, she poured millions of pounds into creating the 33,000 hectare (82,000 acre) Laohu Valley reserve where the experiment is taking place. At the same time, she lobbied the Chinese authorities to create reserves in China where “rewilded” tigers could be returned and set free. Her Save China’s Tigers (SCT) – a private charity, inspired by her love of cats, big and small, and a safari to Africa where she saw lions in the wild – bought 17 former sheep farms in South Africa and hired local conversation experts, such as Mr Openshaw who worked for years for South Africa’s national parks department, to oversee the project. China’s forestry and wildlife department has now agreed to set aside two reserves of 15,000 and 18,000 hectares, which SCT will finance. This is where Li now hopes the offspring of the four tigers currently on the reserve will one day be released. With so few South China tigers left, it is too much of a risk to free the few surviving ones. The first stage of the project, teaching zoo tigers to hunt again, has been declared a success. “The next big challenge is a carefully controlled breeding programme. All future cubs will go through rewilding training in order to prepare them to return to China,” Li said. The hope is that the cubs or the cubs’ cubs will have virtually no contact with humans and will adapt quickly to the new environment. Animal rights campaigners accuse her of cruelty by allowing blesbok, a small antelope-like animal, to be killed in such a manner, but Li dismisses the accusations. “If the tiger survives, you protect other species. Conservation is the winner here,” she said. The initiative has brought Li and her supporters into conflict with the powerful conservation lobby. She says nothing in her previous career working with fashion groups such as Benetton and Gucci could have prepared her for the bitchiness of the “big cat walk”, but dismisses it as the result of a deep dislike of outsiders encroaching on what they see as their territory. It is an argument Stud 327 could understand. 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Somatic cells of South China tiger for future cloning July 15, 2007 11:51 AM

Somatic cells for future tiger cloning
Beijing, July 15: Amid China`s push to lift the ban on tiger products, Chinese scientists have started preserving somatic cells of South China Tiger, a species thought to be extinct in the wild, in order to clone them in future.

Experts with Guangzhou Zoo and South China Agricultural University believe South China tigers are extinct in the wild. Only 68 have bred in captivity at zoos and these are all descendants of two male and four female tigers caught in the 1950s and 1970s, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Unless more are found in the wild, these zoo-bred tigers will eventually die out because of inbreeding, they said.

However, some scientists believe that the South China Tiger still exist in the remote subtropical forests in the wild west.

"We saw footprints, heard their bellows and talked to villagers who had seen the big cats," said professor Liu Shifeng, Northwest China University.

Liu headed a group of 30 zoologists to trace the tiger in the Shaanxi province last year but they failed to spot a single tiger at the end of the two trips that together lasted two and a half months.

The last South China Tiger was seen in Shaanxi province in 1964. Its former habitats were in Guangdong province, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region as well as the central provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi.

"But this time we did find big footprints 15 cm long and 15 cm wide at an interval of one meter. They could not have been left by leopards or any other known animal in the region," Liu said.

He also found remains of torn-apart wild boars in the forests.

"All the signs suggest South China Tigers still roam the forests," he said.

The Shaanxi Provincial Forestry Administration said it plans to build Zhenping county into a new habitat for the tigers.

"South China Tigers are as critically-endangered as giant pandas," said Wang Wanyun, an official in charge of wildlife preservation. "We`ll do everything we can to protect."

Meanwhile, China is pressing to lift the ban on trade on tiger parts, especially bones, saying that not using tiger parts is a huge waste.

Western experts who insist on a ban on tiger parts fail to understand traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese culture, said Wang Wei, deputy director, Department of Wildlife Conservation.

China joined the convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (cites) in 1981 and imposed a ban on the harvesting of tiger bones in 1993. Later, tiger bones were deleted from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dictionaries.

"Tiger bone was taken out of the dictionaries but that doesn`t mean we think they have no medicinal value. Tiger bones have been a key item in Chinese traditional medicine for several thousand years, and not using them is a huge waste," Wang said.

There are now 5,000 captive-bred tigers in China, and 1,000 tigers are being bred on a yearly basis. Many experts say the tiger breeding technology has matured in China, and it`s time to rethink reintroducing and using the bones of the captive-tigers.

Bureau Report
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anonymous  October 06, 2007 2:52 PM

WORLD NEWS
China growth seen raising threat to tigers

By Reuters
Tuesday October 2, 11:40 PM

By Alister Doyle and Gerard Wynn

LONDON (Reuters) - China's economic boom is fuelling demand for endangered species ranging from tigers to African timbers even though Beijing imposes the death penalty for wildlife crimes, the head of a U.N. watchdog said on Tuesday.

Growing affluence means that more and more Chinese are able to afford exotic foods such as snakes, reptiles and frogs or buy traditional medicines like tiger bone wine believed by many in China to help lower blood pressure.

In China "more and more people get access to these expensive food stuffs," Willem Wijnstekers, head of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangerered Species (CITE, told a Reuters environment summit.

"Both within China and in neighbouring countries there is a lot disappearing," he said.

"Africa is full of Chinese wood buyers and the forests are rapidly disappearing in the direction of China as well," he said. Timber is used both in China and for exports including furniture sold to nations from Europe to North America.

But he said that China had stringent penalties. "They have the death penalty for wildlife crime and they have used it," he said. "I'm not going to promote the death penalty for CITES but they really take it seriously."

"They've got hundreds of people involved at borders. But (China's) so huge," he said, adding that trying to stop wildlife smuggling into China was like trying to mop up water from the floor with the tap running.

Elsewhere, he also said that economic growth was stoking demand for endangered species, such as demand for caviar in Russia. "Caviar is a quarter the price in Russia as in the rest of the world," he said.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Wijnstekers also said that worries about global warming were distracting the world from other environmental problems such as smuggling, pollution or habitat destruction.

"Climate change is getting too much of the attention, compared to other environmental problems," he said.

Wijnstekers also criticised China's tiger farms, which have about 5,000 of the cats against just 30 in the wild. Farmed tigers, he said, were unsuitable for China's stated plan of helping bolster depleted wild stocks.

And many environmentalists fear the farms stoke an illegal domestic market.

Wijnstekers said that CITES, which originally focused on protecting creatures such as pandas or elephants, was likely to keep widening its efforts to protect commercial species in a billion-dollar market.

He said that more South American and Asian timber species and more species of sharks might be candidates for trade restrictions when CITES' 176 member nations next meet in 2010.

Despite worries about smuggling, he said he was likely to recommend that China be accepted next year as an ivory importer alongside Japan, which is currently the sole legal destination for a planned sale of African ivory stocks.

A vote on whether to let China import ivory will be made in July 2008. "If the Chinese this time were able to bid against the Japanese then the countries allowed to sell could make more money out of ivory," he said.

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