• Wed
  • Nov 19, 2014
  • Updated: 10:42pm
Column
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 March, 2014, 3:21am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 March, 2014, 4:18am

Sickening slaughter of rare tigers for sport on mainland China must be stopped

Big cats are killed and their meat served up for the rich and powerful

Video footage posted online of a gang in Leizhou in southern Guangdong electrocuting a caged tiger has horrified the public.

Police in nearby Zhanjiang have arrested 16 suspected members of the gang believed to have slaughtered more than 10 of the animals as a blood sport to entertain rich and powerful customers.

The meat was then cooked for the wealthy paying guests. Tiger parts were also sold as medicines.

The authorities have seized tiger carcasses and animal parts, plus a cache of weapons, including knives, guns and bullets, used by poachers to subdue the big cats. The tigers were reportedly caught in Vietnam and smuggled alive into China.

Can the local authorities really have been ignorant of the bloody slaughter?

A closer look at the case shows that this supposedly secret activity was well known among local people and has operated for years.

Police in the area reported two similar cases of tiger killings in 2007 and 2010 after they were tipped off by local residents.

There are also estimates that as many as 20 tigers may have been slaughtered during this period, according to a report in the official Nanfang Daily newspaper.

The going rate to buy a tiger in Vietnam is about 200,000 yuan (HK$250,000), according to the report. The meat and bones of the animal can be sold later in Leizhou for as much as 300,000 yuan.

Even before a tiger is shipped to China, enthusiastic buyers, mostly wealthy businessmen and local officials, have already been lined up. Watching the rare big cats being killed in the field, then cooked and eaten has became an exotic and apparently popular entertainment among the region's rich and powerful.

"This visual feast has become something that you can show off about among friends," the newspaper quoted a Leizhou official as saying. Only people with access to the elite in business and politics are invited to watch.

Based on these accounts, can the local authorities really have been ignorant of the bloody slaughter of tigers and the trade in tiger parts, which has been banned nationwide since 1993? Or have they merely turned a blind eye?

Tigers are not the only animals cruelly slaughtered and consumed in Leizhou. The Leizhou Peninsula has been dubbed a "hell for migratory birds" thanks to the rampant poaching in the area in the winter months. Officials have responded to public criticism with short-lived crackdowns on wild bird poaching.

One wonders if the same half-hearted approach will be adopted to tackling the smuggling and killing of tigers?

Beijing has launched projects to protect and restore habitats for wild tigers in the country's northeast in response to the international efforts to save the endangered big cats.

Turning a blind eye to the bloody trade in tiger parts will easily destroy any positive image the country is attempting to build in preserving threatened wildlife.

jing.li@scmp.com

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This article is now closed to comments

lucifer
I suppose this article was meant to be shocking. The Pandas are so few in number today for the same reason...greed, gluttony and superstition.
Stephan
Fully agreed. Chinese have no respect for any kind of life, animal or human!!!
Byebye
The writer - "This visual feast has become something that you can show off about among friends," the newspaper quoted a Leizhou official as saying. Only people with access to the elite in business and politics are invited to watch."? What sort of mind is it?
The article also said "Video footage posted online of a gang in Leizhou in southern Guangdong electrocuting a caged tiger has horrified the public. Police in nearby Zhanjiang have arrested 16 suspected members of the gang believed to have slaughtered more than 10 of the animals as a blood sport to entertain rich and powerful customers." - heavy penalty and 10 years jail at least for these scumbags?
mercedes2233
Aren't you glad that China still has the death penalty? These people should be shot!
mercedes2233
Who says? Pandas are now systemically bred, and nobody eats pandas.
guy.pant
Note that it is outlawed. Sport hunting/fishing (for entertainment rather than for consumption) is a tradition that is widespread in continental colonies - traditions that have carried on since foxes were tally holed out or when wolves, lynxes were wiped out from Britain.
mercedes2233
Australians shoot ducks for sport, and kangaroos are systemically culled, Japanese harpoon whales in bloody scenes, upper-class Brits hunt foxes in packs, and Alaskans (as typified by Sarah Palin) shoot moose. I don't endorse the killing of tigers but Chinese people on this occasion are not alone. We feel particularly sorry because the tigers are so beautiful.
johnfra
The rich and influential should, no MUST, send out a message that they do not need to be served up such exotic animals and without buyers, the practice will stop. China is in the ascendancy and it is about time to show the world that this is a completely NEW CHINA, no need to go back to the dynastic days of dining on peacocks and live monkey brains.
Please give a lead and without buyers, this horrible trade will cease. No poor farmers of evil criminals go around trapping tigers and killing rhinoceros for their horns if there are no buyers.
BabyMan
So the article of Xi in Germany speaks of peace. Killing Tigers for sport is not evolved culture.
 
 
 
 
 

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