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Tigers Are Dying Out: Over 100 Are Killed Each Year Amid Alarmingly Low Population

Nov 17, 2016 09:51 AM EST
Tiger Triplets Debut at Taronga Zoo
A new population of rare tigers - including cubs - were spotted in eastern Thailand.
(Photo : Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Despite their dwindling numbers -- only 4,000 individuals are left roaming the wild -- tiger killing remains thriving with over 100 tigers killed and illegally trafficked every year.

According to a report from, these numbers from TRAFFIC come in time for the two-day international wildlife conference in Vietnam this week. For this conference, governments, non-government organizations and activists join forces against the illegal wildlife trade.

A thriving industry

Against the wishes of animal rights activists, the industry for tiger trade is currently not dying down any time soon - but the species is.

This new research studied 16 years of tiger seizure data worldwide, concluding that an average of 110 tigers are victims of the trade industry annually since 2000. The study pointed out that breeding centers play an increasingly significant role in fuelling the industry. Southeast Asia is a major player, particularly Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, which all rank as some of the world's top countries for tiger farms.

"These countries have clearly made little meaningful progress in controlling this source of supply," Kanitha Krishnasamy, co-author of the TRAFFIC report, said. "Any further stimulation of demand could have a more disastrous impact on wild tigers."

Future plans

The countries singled out are planning to spur into action. Laos has announced their plans to close down tiger farms. Thailand is close behind by spearheading investigations following the conflict with Buddhist tiger temples that has long been controversial.

However, these countries are often boggled down with corruption and many policies end up successful in the long run.

Captive-bred tigers

A report from the World Wildlife Fund revealed that the TRAFFIC report also discovered that about 30 percent of tigers seized from 2012 to 2015 originated from captive breeding facilities. This means that tiger farms truly play a huge role in the illegal trade of the animal.

"There is no longer any doubt that tiger farms are stimulating and expanding the illegal tiger trade or that they should all be closed down," Michael Baltzer, Leader of WWF's Tigers Alive Initiative, explained. "The Hanoi Conference is the perfect platform for governments to commit to shutting Asia's tiger farms, which would contribute enormously to the survival and recovery of tigers in the wild."

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