The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has used Global Tiger Day to urge Asian states to investigate all tiger breeding ‘farms’ and shut down any that are involved in illegal black-market tiger trade.
Tiger parts are sometimes used in Asian remedies which are claimed to boost virility or fight disease.
According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), there are more than 200 tiger farms in Asia. Mostly in China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
They have estimated that there are about 8,000 captive tigers , which is more than the estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild.
Although WWF feels that closing tiger farms will help countries to achieve the goal of doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022, they urge that said farms cannot be closed overnight. Tigers living in farm-like captivity have become habituated to human presence and cannot simply be released in the wild, the group said.
WWF is currently petitioning the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to pass regulations prohibiting public contact with captive tigers.
Back in May, Tiger Temple in western Thailand was closed after Thai wildlife officials discovered dozens of dead cubs inside a freezer.