Why tigers belong on the UK-China agenda

  • October 15, 2016


TigerTime is one of 18 tiger groups to have signed a letter to UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, explaining why tigers belong the UK-China agenda.

The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister David Cameron, MP
Prime Minister’s Office
10 Downing Street

Re: Why tigers belong on the UK – China agenda

We the undersigned represent conservation organisations and experts from around the world, working to save the wild tiger. Ahead of the state visit by China’s President Xi, we are writing to you to respectfully request that you ensure the matter of tiger trade and tiger farming are on your agenda for bilateral discussions.

The UK is to be congratulated for its leadership in convening the London Illegal
Wildlife Trade Conference in February 2014, and supporting Botswana with the
follow-up meeting in 2015. Along with the UK’s considerable aid under the IWT
Challenge Fund, this has helped ensure that the issue of illegal wildlife trade in
general has remained an important element of high-level international dialogue and action.

With as few as 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild, there is much that must still be
done to save the species. One of the most significant threats to the survival of tigers is trade in their body parts. The trade threat is exacerbated by a marked increase in tiger ‘farms’ in China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand where more than double the number of wild tigers are kept, and are often intensively bred, for trade
in skins, bones, meat and other body parts.

The largest end-destination market of tiger parts and products, China, continues to sidestep its commitments under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and perpetuate such trade by supporting the expansion of tiger farms and allowing a legal commercial trade in the skins of captive tigers for use as luxury home decor. Such trade stimulates demand for tiger products, undermines enforcement efforts to end tiger trade and poses a serious threat to tigers in the wild.

We congratulate you on your leadership in tackling illegal wildlife trade at the international level, however we are concerned that the political will to address
the issue of tiger trade appears to have been overshadowed by the emphasis on
illegal wildlife trade from Africa to Asia.

In order to ensure that tiger conservation remains a priority for the international
community and to end tiger farming and trade, we respectfully request you to raise this issue during President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to the UK. Specifically, we appeal to you to encourage him to announce a total ban on all trade in tiger parts and derivatives including from captive tigers, to end tiger farming and destroy stockpiles of tiger parts and derivatives.

Thank you for time and consideration.

Most respectfully,

Carole Baskin, Big Cat Rescue
Adam Roberts, Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation
Debi Goenka, Conservation Action Trust
Sally Case, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Debbie Banks, Environmental Investigation Agency
Claire Bass, Humane Society International – UK
Sean Carnell, National Tigers For Tigers Coalition
Bittu Sahgal, Editor of Sanctuary Magazine
Kishore Rithe, Satpuda Foundation
Simon Clinton, Save Wild Tigers
Kedar Gore, The Corbett Foundation
Phil Davis, Tiger Awareness
Harshwardhan Dhanwatey, Tiger Research and Conservation Trust
Vicky Flynn, TigerTime
Julian Matthews, Travel Operators for Tigers India Wildlife Association (TOFTigers)
Edwin Wiek, Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand and Wildlife Friends International – Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Belinda Wright, Wildlife Protection Society of India
Biswajit Mohanty, Wildlife Society of Orissa
Copy to:
The Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Rory Stewart OBE MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs