- Londoners & millennials most likely to visit attractions with captive tigers which could be fuelling the illegal wildlife trade
- More than 200 facilities across Asia - many of which are likely to be involved in the illegal trade of tigers like the notorious Tiger Temple; Asia's most recently renowned tiger farm
- 86% of those surveyed want to see tiger farms closed
- WWF is calling for countries to take urgent action to phase out tiger farms
A survey released by WWF-UK on Global Tiger Day (29th July) reveals 76% of respondents weren't aware of tiger farm practices in Asia, which are fuelling the illegal wildlife trade and jeopardising the recovery of wild tigers across the continent. However, upon learning about tiger farms, 86% want to see these facilities closed urgently.
WWF is calling for countries to take urgent action to phase out all tiger farms. In two months at CITES CoP17* in South Africa, international governments will discuss the need to prevent tigers and tiger products entering illegal trade from and through such farms.
The Populus survey commissioned by WWF-UK questioned more than 2000 people across Great Britain, exploring the nation's interest in attractions in Asia with captive tigers and their understanding of tiger farms. Other key findings include: 23% of Londoners and 22% of 18-34 year olds are the most likely demographics to visit or have already been to an attraction with captive tigers - the highest by far.
Not all attractions with captive tigers across Asia are tiger farms. Tiger farms are captive facilities that breed tigers with an intent of engaging in the commercial trade in tiger products and parts. Many often masquerade as tourist attractions as well.
The notorious Tiger Temple was Asia's most recently renowned example of a tiger farm and is just one of a vast network of more than 200 facilities across the continent; a large number of which are likely to be involved in the illegal trade of tigers and tiger parts & products. These facilities now hold approximately 7,000-8,000 captive tigers according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) - a staggering amount more than left in the wild.
Heather Sohl WWF-UK's chief advisor on wildlife comments:
We have seen the number of tiger farms increase at an astounding rate across Asia over recent years. These undermine efforts to halt the illegal trade and protect wild tigers by complicating enforcement efforts and boosting the demand for products and parts. It is vital tiger farms are closed. Thailand's official closure of the Tiger Temple and investigation into other facilities is a good start, but they need to do more. We are also calling for China, Vietnam and Laos to act immediately."
The results of this WWF-UK survey suggest, the British public are behind WWF and a number of other NGOs, calling for urgent action to close tiger farms in Asia. A huge majority of those surveyed agree that it is of great importance, that as a result of the CITES CoP17, Asian Governments take urgent steps to eradicate these farms that are further threatening the wild populations.
Since tiger farms cannot be closed overnight, WWF is calling for the governments of China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam to carry out comprehensive investigations of all tiger breeding facilities and provide a clear plan and timelines to ensure the timely closure of all tiger farms.
"It is a vital time for us to act worldwide to further increase efforts to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, achieving the ambitious TX2 goal. We've just celebrated a global increase in wild population numbers for the first time in the history of tiger conservation. However, trade in tiger parts and products is still a major threat to tigers. There is still a long way to go in order to secure a stable future for this species and progress made so far hangs on a knife edge."
There are now estimated to be close to 3,900 tigers in the wild, up from the previous estimate of as few as 3,200 in 2010 - the year in which all 13 tiger range states plus partner countries and organisations committed to work towards the TX2 goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022.
The meeting of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.Notes to Editor:For any enquires please contact:
Lianne Mason | WWF-UK Press Office Manager T: +44 (0)1483 412206 | M: +44 (0)7415230338