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

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of