The market for wild tiger skins and body parts continues to grow in China and across the world.
Tonight's premiere of "Dangerous Trade" promises to expose the political, criminal and brutally cruel aspects of the murdering of this threatened species.
What remains of the world's wild tigers and other Asian big cats are under threat from the international illegal trade in their body parts and the decline in their habitat and prey base. Isolated success stories show it’s not impossible to reverse the decline. It’s a matter of the political will to implement the numerous expert recommendations and initiatives that too often are left to stagnate, relegating the tiger to the political wilderness.
A hard-hitting new film following the work of the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) to expose the illegal underworld of tiger trafficking will air on Planet Green on Sunday, June 6 at 10 p.m. (ET).
Dangerous Trade has already won the Best News category at the 33rd International Wildlife Film Festival, in Montana, USA.
Produced by Red Earth Studio in London for Planet Green in the USA, the film goes undercover with an EIA team in China as they reveal the extent of the hugely lucrative market in tiger parts which poses such a dire threat to the world's remaining wild tiger populations.
The film shows China remains a major consumer of tiger and other Asian big cat products; skins are sought for home decor, taxidermy and bribery, while products such as bone are widely used in traditional Chinese medicines and treatments.
EIA also learns about the role of the Chinese military as major consumers of tiger and other big cat skins and encounters traders continuing to operate with impunity, despite being uncovered by previous EIA investigations.
"This is the Chinese Year of the Tiger and a perfect opportunity to bring pressure to bear to end this despicable and damaging trade," said Debbie Banks, EIA Head of Tiger Campaign.
"The film comes at a crucial time. In the autumn, all eyes will be on the Global Tiger Summit, planned to take place in Russia, and looking for signs that renewed political commitment to save the wild tiger will translate into action to end the tiger trade."
Saving the wild tiger is not just about saving a charismatic species. It is about securing a long-term future for tigers, the forests they live in and the people who depend on those forests for their survival. The wild tiger is a symbol of our global efforts to secure a stable environment for our future and combat climate change. Their survival reflects our political commitment to good governance and the fight against corruption. If we can’t save the wild tiger, what can we save?