I make and sign petitions to save animals, wildlife, and habitats
CLOSE DOWN TIGER TEMPLE IN THAILAND
Tigers at Thailand’s famed Tiger Temple live in cramped concrete enclosures. A new report links the monastery, which houses 147 tigers, to the black market tiger trade. The temple, formally known as Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno, doubles as an attraction for visitors who want hands-on contact with some of its 147 captive tigers. Busloads of tourists come to pet and feed cubs, play with tigers, walk them on leashes, and take selfies with a tiger’s head in their lap. The enterprise is estimated to generate income equivalent to three million dollars a year. Former workers and animal welfare advocates have alleged that the tigers have been abused and exploited: beaten, fed poorly, in need of veterinary care, and housed in small concrete cages with little opportunity for exercise or time outdoors. The monks have denied this. Last month, photographer Steve Winter and I went to the temple to look into an incident that occurred just over a year ago. According to our sources, in late December 2014, three adult male tigers vanished from the temple: seven-year-old Dao Nua, three-year-old Facram 3, and Happy 2, who was five. Nothing has come to light about the fate of the missing tigers, and no one has been charged or prosecuted. But the government intends to relocate the tigers from the temple to state wildlife facilities in the next few days. Captive tigers slipped into the illicit trade “help fuel a growing demand for tiger products in China and other parts of Asia,” Banks says. D parts “are now consumed less as medicine and more as exotic luxury products,” according to a 2014 report commissioned by CITES. Tiger-bone wine (brewed by steeping a tiger skeleton in rice wine) and the cat’s magnificent skins (used in high-end home décor) have become coveted status symbols among China’s elite. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/160121-tiger-temple-thailand-trafficking-laos0/
CHINA: STOP IGNORING BAN ON SALE OF TIGER BODY PARTS: CLOSE DOWN CHINA'S TIGER FARMS
TELL CHINA TO STOP IGNORING BAN ON SALE OF TIGER BODY PARTS: CLOSE DOWN CHINA'S TIGER FARMS Despite signing international agreements banning the trade in tiger parts, an undercover investigation has discovered that the skins of the big cats are being openly sold with state approval. The remains come from animals bred in so-called tiger farms and cramped zoos. The beautiful beasts are kept in pitiful conditions and so badly fed they are emaciated, the Environmental Investigation Agency has revealed. Their skins are sold to decorate the homes of the elite and their bones are ground down to make “tonic” wines — despite these being banned. Breeding for trade must stop: By Shruti Suresh of Environmental Investigation Agency Any trade in tiger parts could have a significant impact on the number of wild tigers, that’s why any breeding for trade must stop. Wild tigers are a vital factor in the health of their eco-system. If you removed the ‘king of the jungle’ then their prey, such as deer, would flourish and impact on other plants and animals. When you mess around with natural, centuries-old cycles the consequences will be devastating.
Stop America's Tiger-Breeding Farms
Almost all of America's 7,000 tigers are born and raised here. Reports from tiger farms suggest there are many unscrupulous breeders, and activists allege that the trade is cruel. What's clear is that tigers are often kept in small pens, people die when safety is lax, and the cats are hideously inbred to produce valuable white cubs. The trade is not illegal, though a recent law bans the sale or trade of big cats across state lines for the pet trade. But breeders exploit a patchwork of state-by-state rules, and loopholes, to continue to sell cubs. People who rescue unwanted or mistreated tigers estimate that the number of breeders might be in the hundreds. Several alleged traders contacted by NEWSWEEK refused to be interviewed, perhaps because in recent years many operations have been shut down by authorities. One of the biggest, Savage Kingdom, in Florida, was closed by the Department of Agriculture in 2006. Several accidents had occurred there. In 2001 a handyman named Vincent Lowe went into a cage to repair a dangerously worn-down gate. Colleagues had to watch as a 318-pound male tiger, Tijik, ripped out [his] throat, according to the USDA report. They could not rescue him for fear of being attacked themselves. The tiger was eventually shot by Savage Kingdom's octogenarian owner, Robert Baudy, who had been in the tiger trade for many decades even been on The Ed Sullivan Show promoting his animals. He was from an era before animal welfare, says Jamie Veronica, who is with the charity Big Cat Rescue and went into the farm after it was closed to try to remove and resettle dozens of tigers (all were eventually moved safely). When he started out, people just saw animals as a commodity, a way to make money. The USDA report blamed Baudy for safety failures that led to Lowe’s death. He could not be reached for comment at a number listed for him. Baudy specialized in white tigers, which sell for up to $20,000 per cub. But white tigers are rare genetic mutations, not a different species. According to the San Diego Zoo, every American white tiger is descended from a single father. New cubs must be inbred further. For every healthy, valuable cub, it is thought that many are born with ailments like shortened tendons, club foot, kidney problems, malformed backbones, contorted necks, and twisted faces. Emily McCormack, a zoologist at Turpentine Creek, a refuge in Arkansas that rescues unwanted or abused big cats, has taken in several deformed cubs. "People don't want these tigers because they don't look perfect," she says. "Who's to say how many have been born with deformities that have been killed instead of rescued?" Activists also campaign against so-called white-tiger-conservation programs, whose very descriptions, says McCormack, are misleading: They will never be returned to the wild. They don’t really exist in the wild." Siegfried & Roy, the illusionist duo, are famous for their white tigers. They claim on their Web site that they have 38. "For more than 20 years, they say, we have been entrusted with the care and preservation of the Royal White Tigers." A spokesperson for the two did not return calls for comment about their breeding program. A statement from the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which houses many of Siegfried & Roy's white tigers in an attraction called the Secret Garden, did not directly address the possibility that the program may have bred deformed cubs. It did say that breeding is done responsibly under strict genetic management. The Mirage did not respond to NEWSWEEK's request for more information.