Poaching and illegal trade in tigers is being discussed this week by delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Doha, Qatar, with countries being asked to provide information to the CITES Secretariat and Interpol to help develop anti-poaching strategies.
Estimates from 2007 indicated that there were as few as 3,400 tigers in the wild throughout Asia. Numbers have decreased since then. In the early 1900s there were more than 100,000. Tigers are primarily poached for their skins with other body parts being used for decorative purposes or for traditional medicines.
“If we use tiger numbers as a performance indicator then we must admit that we have failed miserably and that we are continuing to fail. How have we let this happen?” says CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers. "Although the tiger has been prized throughout history, and is a symbol of incredible importance in many cultures and religions, it is now literally on the verge of extinction. 2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger and the International Year of Biodiversity; this must be the year in which we reverse the trend. If we don’t, it will be to our everlasting shame.”
Tigers are listed in CITES Appendix I, which includes species threatened with extinction and allows non-commercial trade only in exceptional circumstances, such as for research.
Globally, on a species level, tigers are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
IUCN media team: