KATHMANDU, October 30 - China received praise here today from the International Tiger Coalition (ITC) for promising to work with its neighbors to end tiger trade and bring back wild tigers.
The ITC, a global alliance of 40 organizations opposed to tiger trade from any source, praised comments by a senior official of China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) at the Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop, who pledged to replace the “paper tigers” of past wild tiger conservation efforts with “real tigers.”
“We welcome China’s new initiatives aimed at stopping tiger trade, and we would like to be among the first to accept China’s invitation for more engagement,” said Judy Mills of the International Tiger Coalition. “In many ways, the fate of wild tigers rests in China’s hands.”
Among the “game changing” actions promised by YAN Xun, Director of the SFA’s Wildlife Conservation Department, was better policing of tiger trade within China and coming into China from neighboring countries such as India, Nepal, Myanmar and Vietnam. He also pledged a China-wide awareness raising campaign to reduce demand for wild tiger products as well as a multi-national consumer awareness campaign throughout the tiger’s range. Furthermore, China just launched its first-ever hotline and “hot e-mail” channels for members of the public to report illegal wildlife trade.
“China welcomes the engagement of the international community,” Yan said in his remarks to the workshop.
China has historically been the main consumer of tiger parts and products. A much reduced but persistent demand for tiger parts and products in China continues to drive poaching of wild tigers throughout the tiger’s range. While trade in tiger bone has been banned in China since 1993, the existence of large-scale tiger farms keeps interest in using tiger products alive, according to the ITC.
Other tiger range countries participating in the workshop including Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, also highlighted the need for greater awareness raising efforts to reduce demand for tiger products.
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