target: Chinese Environment Minister Mr. Zhou Shengxian
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has warned the US, the UK, and all tiger-range nations that China has re-opened the trade in wild cat skins including tigers ahead of a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting this week in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the EIA, China has reinitiated a Skin Registration Scheme that allows the trade of big cat skins from legal sources, such as captive bred cats and controversial tiger farms, however the NGOS argues the scheme lacks transparency, providing an easy cover for the sale of skins taken from big cats poached in the wild.
"The Skin Registration Scheme is going in totally the wrong direction. It’s doing nothing to actually help tiger and leopard conservation, instead providing a cover for illegal trade and creating a confused consumer market," says Debbie Banks, EIA Tiger Campaign Head, in a press release.
China is a signatory of the Global Tiger Recovery Program, which ambitiously pledged to double tiger numbers in the wild by 2022 with initial funds of $300 million. However, EIA contends that the re-opening of the Skin Registration Scheme makes a 'complete mockery' of China's promise to conserve tigers.
The EIA states that it has already found examples of cat skins on sale on-line. According to the Hindustan Times one tiger rug cost $124,000, while a stuffed tiger cost $700,000. Leopard skins ranged from $100,000 to $300,000.
"Parties to CITES may feel they’ve been misled as a result of China’s tactics," Banks says. "What they’ve failed to grasp is that despite committing to the domestic trade ban on tiger bone, China has refused to make the same commitment over skins or answer questions about how many skins are being traded, but the system is there."
Currently, there are an estimated 3,500 wild tigers in the world, down from approximately 100,000 in 1900; during the last decade alone tigers have lost 40% of their viable habitat; and already in the past century, three tiger subspecies went extinct and one may only survive in captivity. These bleak statistics underlie the difficulty of saving tigers. The great cat is threatened by habitat loss (much of which has vanished already), poaching for skins and traditional medicine, declines in prey species, and human-tiger conflict, which includes casualties both of humans and tigers.
Dear Mr. Zhou Shengxian, This illegal trading in Big Cats skin, tigers included, under your jurisdiction is absolutely horrible and nonsense. How will be seen your wonderful country Worldwide and, mainly yourself as Chinese Environment Minister and main responsible in controlling the well being of all natural resources in your country if you allow this and other atrocities against animal welfare to continue without doing nothing?.
Humbly and respectfully ask you to Stop this barbaric slaughter with a firm hand in your country on behalf of these wonderful and unique species. Sincerely yours,