CITES turns up the heat on Tiger smugglers
Bangkok, Thailand, 14th March 2013—A new international law enforcement initiative to stop the poaching and illegal trade of Tigers and other Asian big cats was agreed by the member countries of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Bangkok today.
Agreement was reached to gather information on incidents of poaching and illegal trade in all Asian big cats since the beginning of 2010 and to analyse the information for circulation to relevant enforcement agencies and range States.
The CITES members also agreed to monitor efforts to close down the illegal Tiger trade. Some countries had asked for a situation appraisal to be carried out for the next full CITES meeting in around three years time, but it was agreed to do so in 2014.
Last week, TRAFFIC, in collaboration with WWF, launched Reduced to Skin and Bones Revisited, a report analysing Tiger part seizures across 12 of the 13 range States for Tigers. The report found that between 2000 and 2012, there were 654 seizures of tiger parts in Tiger range States, corresponding to 1,425 animals; an average of 110 tigers killed per year. Crucially, the report illustrates how detailed information on seizures can help pinpoint trade “hotspots”, with obvious potential for improved law enforcement efforts.
“Although some countries were frustrated by the brevity of discussions on Asian big cat issues during the agenda, the meeting nevertheless came up with some important measures to reinforce efforts to close down the underground, illicit trafficking of Tigers,” said Natalia Pervushina, TRAFFIC and WWF’s Tiger Trade Programme Officer.
“TRAFFIC is fully committed to contributing our analyses of Tiger seizure market information to the CITES enforcement implementation reviews,” added Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC.