Tiger skin in Lhasa, photo: EIA
The illegal trade in tiger and other big cat skins and body parts is big business for international crime syndicates, with tiger skins fetching up to more than $21,000 each. Now, an undercover mission by the Environmental Investigation Agency shows that China is doing little to stop it, despite international commitments to do so:In the course of three weeks in July and August, EIA was offered 4 full tiger skins, 12 leopard skins, 11 snow leopard skin, 2 clouded leopard skins, as well as "dozens of pieces of skin, bones, and skulls." EIA also says that at a horse festival in Tibet 9 people were witnessed wearing tiger skins and 25 wearing leopard, with the local authorities turning a blind eye.
Most of the big cat skins and parts in China are sourced from India, Nepal and Burma, and are used for home furnishing and clothing, as well as in traditional Chinese medicine.
The going rate for a whole tiger skin is about $11,660-$21,860, with bones selling for $1250 per kilogram.
No Fear of Detection in Large Areas of Country
EIA's Alasdair Cameron describes the situation,
There is some law enforcement in China, in a few regions, bu there are whole swaths of the country where this trade is allowed to carry on with almost no fear of detection. A mixture of corruption and apathy is helping to decimate endangered species and is indicative of what is happening to the wide environment.
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