Found in a fridge: One of the world's most endangered species
The tiger is being poached at an alarming rate for their skins,
parts used in traditional medicine, sustenance for indigenous people
and killed when coming into contact with local farmers due to
destruction of their natural habitat.
They are prized by drug gangs and
warlords for their price on the black market, exceeded only by the
illegal trade in drugs and weapons.
Three of the world's nine tiger sub-species were listed as extinct last century, and many scientists believe a fourth, the South China tiger is already "functionally extinct".
The tiger population in South-east Asia has declined from an estimated 100,000 at the early years of the Twentieth Century to less than 4,000 in the wild today. The tiger population is declining at a rate of around
per year through a combination of poaching and habitat conflict. At
this rate it is estimated tigers will be extinct in the region sometime
between 2012 and 2015.
The Environmental Investigation Agency says
the trade in tiger skins in South-east Asia has increased greatly in
recent years. It is believed that if poaching cannot be curtailed, the
tiger population will be wiped out very quickly.
TWO of the world's most beautiful creatures are found stuffed into a fridge in Hanoi - a rare insight into the lucrative trade in endangered animals across South-east Asia that makes a mockery of international conservation treaties.
Vietnamese police this week found the two frozen tigers in an apartment, along with two soup kettles filled with animal bones in an outdoor kitchen.
A 40-year-old woman confessed to police that she had hired three experts to cook tiger bones to make traditional medicines that she sold for about £400 per 100g.
"The tigers could have been bought in Myanmar [Burma] or Laos and transported back to Vietnam by ambulances or hidden in coffins," said Vuong Tri Hoa, a forest ranger.
And there is the problem: while more developed countries in South-east Asia, such as China and Vietnam, have taken strong steps to stamp out the illegal hunting of endangered animals, impoverished states such as Laos and Burma either will not or cannot.