Ex-Thai forest chief indicted for tiger sale

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2007:
BANGKOK, BEIJING–The National Counter Corruption
Commission of Thailand on August 10, 2007 unanimously indicted
former Thai forest department chief Plodprasop Suraswadi for a
variety of alleged criminal offenses in authorizing the 2002 export
of 100 tigers from the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo in Chon Buri to the Sunya
Zoo in Hainan, China.
“Under the [Thai] Wildlife Protection Act, exports of
protected wildlife can be made government-to-government for research
and conservation purposes,” the Bangkok Post explained. “However,
the NCCC found that the tiger export was commercial, because Sri
Racha Tiger Zoo and Sunya Zoo are private entities.”
Responded Plodprasop, “The tigers were not from the wild and
not native to Thailand. The Sri Racha Tiger Zoo imported Bengal
tigers and raised and bred them for 10 years.”

While there are several generally recognized tiger
subspecies, the international Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species gives them all Appendix I protection. The Thai
Wildlife Protection Act is the national instrument for enforcing
Plodprasop’s indictment was the latest of a series of summer
2007 rebukes to proponents of reopening international trade in tigers
and tiger parts. In June 2007 the CITES triennial Conference of the
Parties adopted a resolution stating that, “Tigers should not be
bred for trade in their parts and derivatives.”
“By some accounts, the market in tiger-driven medicine
brought in more than $12 million a year before China banned the sale
of tiger parts in 1993,” reported Jonathan Adams of Newsweek. “Now
some Chinese officials-under fierce lobbying from tiger farmers and
would-be parts peddlers-want to regain that lost market. Legalizing
the trade, they argue, could actually help protect wild tigers by
reducing the incentive for illegal poaching.”
Countered Wildlife Protection Society of India founder
Belinda Wright, “In India you can poison a tiger for less than a
dollar. “Raising one in captivity will cost $3,500 to $10,000.”
The Wildlife Institute of India in early August reported that
India now has only 1,300 to 1,500 tigers in the wild, down from
3,508 in 1997 and 4,334 in 1989.
“The four key tiger bearing states–Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan– have only 417 tigers,”
wrote Kalyan Ray of the Deccan Herald. “The last census, carried
out in 2001-02, showed a count of 1,233 in these four states.”
Despite the decline, India is still believed to have more
than half of all the wild tigers left in the world. China has fewer
than 50.
China, however, has more than 5,000 captive-bred tigers,
including more than 800 each at the Guilin Xiongsen Tigers & Bears
Mountain Village and the Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park in Harbin.
The former also has about 400 bears. Relative to their size, the
animals “have about the same amount of space as a battery hen,”
reported Danny Penman of the Daily Mail in March 2007.
The Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park has reportedly frozen
the remains of more than 100 dead tigers, in anticipation of sales
opportunities if CITIES can be persuaded to downlist tigers.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.