Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Report: Over 2,300 tigers killed, trafficked this century

Report: Over 2,300 tigers killed, trafficked this century

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A tigress. (Illustration) (Shutterstock/Pravine)

Report: Over 2,300 tigers killed, trafficked this century

More than 2,300 endangered tigers have been killed and illegally trafficked since the turn of the century, according to a report published on Tuesday, urging more action to protect the giant cats.

With an average of more than 120 illegally trafficked tigers seized each year – which amounts to over two each week – since year 2000, conservation group Traffic warned there was little sign of respite for the species.

Report author Kanitha Krishnasamy, who heads Traffic’s Southeast Asia operations, said the numbers were deeply concerning.

“It looks like we are losing this fight,” she said.

In 1900, more than 100,000 tigers were estimated to roam the planet. But that fell to a record low of 3,200 globally in 2010.

Since then, population numbers have inched upwards, but there are still estimated to be fewer than 3,900 tigers left in the wild.

“This pernicious trafficking,evidenced by the continuously high number of whole skins, whole animals – both dead and alive – and bones is testament to the ongoing demand for Tiger parts,” Krishnasamy said.

“The time for talking is over: words must be turned into action to prevent further Tiger loss,” she said in a statement.

Traffic, which campaigns to protect endangered animals and help governments catch those who trade in their parts, published a new analysis looking at 19-years of tiger seizure data from across the globe.

It found that an estimated total equivalent to 2,359 individual tigers were seized from 2000 to 2018 across 32 countries and territories.

Skins are the single most frequently seized tiger part, with on average 58 whole tiger skins seized each year, the report found, also noting a clear increase in seizures of whole animals, both dead and alive.

The study also highlighted the growing role breeding centres play in fuelling the illegal tiger trade, especially in Southeast Asia.

The tiger farm industry often argues the trade in captive animals helps to relieve the pressure on wild felines, but wildlife groups argue it reduces the stigma around buying the animals or their body parts and could create new markets for them.

More than half of tiger seizures in Thailand and a third of those in Vietnam over the past two decades were identified as coming from captive breeding facilities, Traffic said.

“Seizures of tigers from captive facilities continue and serve as a stark reminder that such facilities seriously undermine conservation efforts to safeguard this species and provide opportunities for laundering and other illegal activities,” said senior Traffic crime analyst Ramacandra Wong in the statement.

Tuesday’s report was released as parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meet in Geneva to evaluate and fine-tune the treaty that manages trade in more than 35,000 species of plants and animals.

Tiger farms are on the agenda, with the report authors calling for CITES to monitor facilities to ensure they are not helping feed the illegal trade chain.

MOST VIEWED

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that

  • Sokha defence denies Tech’s claims

    ON DAY two of Kem Sokha’s treason trial, lawyers for the government said the defence had raised questions in an attempt to allow their client to make a public statement and a conclusion to the case, something his legal team denied. Ky Tech, a

  • Cambodian general visits Myanmar to enhance national defence cooperation

    Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief Vong Pisen is now in Myanmar leading a delegation that aims to improve ties, particularly in national defence, with the fellow Asean member. The timing of Pisen’s four-day visit to the Southeast Asian neighbour is highly symbolic, with

  • Sokha’s treason trial begins

    The treason trial of Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha began at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday with the presentation of a two-minute video clip. The footage, which was the basis of the charge against him, was dismissed by

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,