Jakarta. The wildlife trade monitoring network known as Traffic, and the World Wildlife Fund have published a new report on the illegal trade in tigers in Asia, which shows that at least 1,755 of the endangered animals were seized between 2000 and 2015, including 136 from Indonesia.
Most of the animals, or their body parts, came from captive breeding farms, which house between 7,000 and 8,000 tigers, according to Traffic's report released on Thursday (29/09).
The number is alarming as there is only an estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild.
"Criminal networks are increasingly trafficking captive-bred tigers around Asia, undermining law enforcement efforts and helping to fuel demand. Tiger range countries must rapidly close their farms or wild tigers will face a future only as skin and bones," WWF senior vice president Ginette Hemley said.
There are more than 200 captive tiger facilities in Asia, namely in China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
The most commonly trafficked tiger product is the skins, followed by bones, which are used for medicinal or quasi-medicinal purposes. In Indonesia, tiger specimens are mainly used in taxidermy.
According to Traffic, stuffed Sumatran tigers are associated with luxury. Several hundred stuffed tigers, or their skins, have been registered among the possessions of wealthy Indonesians and the military elite.
Only 371 Sumatran tigers are left in the wild.
"The illegal trade in tigers, their body parts and products, persists as an important conservation concern. Despite repeated government commitments to close down tiger farms in Asia, such facilities are flourishing and playing an increasing role in fueling illegal trade," Traffic executive director Steven Broad said after the report was released.
The report recommends the establishment of intelligence-led law enforcement that can dismantle illegal trade networks; the revision of national legislation in tiger range countries; and improvements in reporting protocols for crimes related to the animals.