Greater China second to India in seizure of tiger parts

The region is second to India in the volume of seizures, says a report on illegal wildlife trade

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 6:36am

A report on the illegal wildlife trade of tigers across Asia shows that between 2000 and 2012, greater China had the most seizures of tiger parts after India.

There were a total of 654 seizures across the region with parts from an estimated 1,425 tigers.

This equated to an average of 110 tigers killed every year.

The calculation, which takes into account seizures in Hong Kong, is based on conservative estimates as it is difficult to count the exact number of tigers killed.

India, which has the largest national wild tiger population, had 336 seizures followed by China (58) and Vietnam (50).

An interesting finding was that between 2000 and 2009, India accounted for 58 per cent of all seizures, but dropped to 29 per cent between 2010 and 2012.

Seizures in China, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia and Vietnam increased between 2010 and 2012. Data on Taiwan started in 2010.

The report listed a variety of reasons for more seizures outside of India such as better policing and reporting practices.

The 44-page report was a joint effort between wildlife trade monitoring network, Traffic, and WWF's Tigers Alive Initiative.

The report's release coincides with a meeting in Bangkok where conservationists discuss how to tackle the growing illegal wildlife trade.

Worldwide, tiger populations have declined from about 100,000 a century ago to about 4,000 today, the report said.

One of the report's authors, Natalia Pervushina, said increased co-operation between countries was needed to curb the trade.

"If more robust information was routinely collected, analysed and shared between countries, real inroads could be made into targeting the smuggling syndicates behind tiger trafficking," said Pervushina, who heads up the tiger trade programme for Traffic and WWF.