Chinese Sanctuary Under Fire for Selling Illegal Tiger Products

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 27 2007 6:11 PM

China’s Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Sanctuary has come under a cloud from animal rights groups for allegedly selling illegal tiger products.

According to The Times, the Save the Tiger Fund and the Wildlife Protection Society of India have accused the sanctuary, located near Guilin in the southern Guangxi Province, of producing tiger bone wine for the local market.

Despite claiming that they help to introduce endangered animals back into the wilderness, many of China’s tiger farmers are also pushing for a relaxation in the laws on the sale of tiger parts.

The Government banned tiger products trade in 1993, but conservationists believe that farms such as Xiongsen – China’s largest, with 1,300 tigers – continue to sell meat and bone for use in traditional medicine and cooking.

A kilogram of tiger bone has a market value of about 100,000 yuan (6,500 pounds), with meat selling for roughly 3,000 yuan a kilo.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has called for China’s tiger farms, which house about 3,000 captive-bred animals, to be closed.

Over the past century poaching and habitat pressures have pushed the Chinese tiger to the brink of extinction, and there are now only 50 in the wild.