19 August 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Barun Mitra claims that the tiger could “buy its way out of the extinction it faces” if the breeding and sale of parts from captive-bred tigers for traditional Chinese medicine were allowed (“Sell the Tiger to Save It,” Op-Ed, Aug. 15).

But re-opening any trade would ensure it’s open season on the world’s remaining wild tigers. Everywhere they live, these magnificent cats fall victim to poisoning, shooting, electrocution and snaring for their skins, bones and other body parts.

If China were to lift its 1993 ban on domestic trade in tiger parts, the incentives for poachers would be even greater, as there would be no way to distinguish the bones of “farmed” tigers from those of wild tigers. Poachers could wipe out what remains of wild populations while “laundering” their goods through legal trade channels.

A better way to conserve tigers is the simplest. We have seen the rapid recovery of fast-breeding tiger populations wherever they and their prey are protected and given adequate space. Save the Chinese farms for ducks and pigs. Save the wildlands of Asia for their tigers and the millions of other species protected in tiger reserves.

Eric Dinerstein
Washington, Aug. 15, 2006
The writer is chief scientist of the World Wildlife Fund.

To the Editor:

Although Barun Mitra makes a provocative argument for tiger “farming,” there is still something morally odious about breeding an endangered species to satisfy human lust for an exotic animal’s body parts.

Kate James
Davis, Calif., Aug. 16, 2006

No comments: