A new report from Traffic International, a wildlife trade monitoring network, suggests that the illegal trade in tiger parts has resulted in more than 1,000 wild tigers being killed over the past decade.
Loss Of Over 96,000 Tigers This Century
To put this in perspective, over the past century, tiger numbers have dropped from about 100,000 to just an estimated 3,500.
Once again, human beings are wreaking havoc on the environment at a faster and faster pace.
Illicit Trade In Tiger Parts
Why do people seek out tigers to kill them? Traffic International found that skins, bones and claws were among the most popular items seized by officials. This is in spite of efforts to protect the big cats: since October 1987, all commercial trade in these animals or their parts has been banned.
India, China, Nepal With The Highest Seizures
The analysis was based on 481 seizures, of which 275 were in India. “Given half the world’s tigers live in India, it’s no real surprise the country has the highest number of seizures,” explained co-author Pauline Verheij, joint Traffic International and World Wildlife Fund tiger trade program manager.
The next highest countries with seizures were China and Nepal.
Illegal Wildlife Trade Worth $10 Billion Per Year
The global black market in wildlife products is worth about $10 billion per year, making wildlife the third most valuable illicit commodity after drugs and weapons, according to World Bank chief Robert Zoellick, speaking in 2009.
So how can such a huge profit-making venture be controlled?
Steven Broad, executive director of Traffic International, believes that this report will provide an “important baseline to inform the understanding of this persistent yet illegal trade.”
Let’s hope he’s right.
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