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Investigation Uncovers Thriving Business In Illegal Tiger Products

Tue., Nov. 11, 1997, midnight

Undercover wildlife investigators have found a flourishing illegal trade in products from endangered tigers, an environmental group said Tuesday.

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency said tiger products were found openly on sale in New York, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan.

In May, the Worldwide Fund for Nature said the world’s estimated 5,000 tigers, an endangered species, are dying off at the rate of one a day. India is home to about 3,000 of the wild cats.

Despite commitments made two years ago, the fund said many countries have failed to take action to curb the illegal trade in tiger bones, skin and other parts used in traditional Chinese medicines.

“The trade in tiger products must be stamped out if tigers are to survive into the next century,” said Dave Currey, director and chief investigator of the Environmental Investigation Agency. “Consuming countries have a direct responsibility for tiger poaching.”

In Amsterdam, the Environmental Investigation Agency said it found tiger bone products on sale in five out of six Chinese pharmacies, in pill, liquid and plaster form. Pharmacists identified mainland China as the source of the medicines.

In Tokyo and Yokohama, two-thirds of Chinese pharmacies in a telephone survey carried tiger products, up from 48 percent in a similar survey two years ago, the agency said.

The figure was even higher in New York, where in February an investigation revealed 80 percent of Chinese pharmacies sold tiger products, it said.

Tags: smuggling

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