China and Vietnam justify use of tiger parts

  • May 17, 2012

China and Vietnam have justified the making of traditional medicines with the bones and body parts of captive tigers, leading to a strong protest from participating countries at the on-going three-day Global Tiger Recovery Programme(GTRP) in Delhi this week.

Both claimed that it was legal to make traditional medicines with bones of captive tigers and that these medicines are used for research purposes in its universities and schools. China also refused to come up with any concrete commitments to stop making traditional medicines with tiger parts.

The statements made by China and Vietnam at the Delhi meeting in support of the use of tiger parts are hugely disappointing to TigerTime and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and could set back the progress made in tiger protection. It is more important than ever that we come together and object to the continued trade in tiger parts.

According to sources, as signatories to the Global Tiger Initiative, both nations have been asked to tighten up anti-poaching measures. China, which claimed to have a wild tiger population of 40 to 50 cats, has four species of tigers – the Amur, South China, Indo-China and Royal Bengal. India, along with Nepal and Russia, shares top rank in big cat conservation among 13 tiger range countries.

According to sources, India claimed to have not only spent $20 million in village relocation from tiger reserves, but has also recently added 2,594 sq km of tiger reserves, taking total area to above 50,000 sq km. The successful reintroduction of tigers in the wild at Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh has also added a new chapter in conservation.

Russia is also carrying out habitat revival strategies with a focus on increasing the prey base. The population of snow leopards and sambars has shown an increase since the last global tiger meet.

Nepal vied for top honours in tiger conservation for stepping up its anti-poaching measures. It claimed that not a single rhino or tiger had been poached during the past 14 months.

The meeting also revealed major coordination lapses between the forest departments, NGOs, customs and the police departments in controlling wildlife crime. “It was discussed with dismay that the network of poachers worked with more coordinated approach than the protectors,” the gathering noted.

“Reports coming out of the GTRP meeting in Delhi are both alarming and reassuring,” says David Shepherd CBE. “On the one hand most tiger range countries are working hard to protect this fabulous species while the ‘consumers’ continue to flaunt the rules and restrictions that will ultimately end the demand for tiger parts from all sources.”

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Photo credit: Save The Tiger Fund