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article imageFireworks blamed for death of tiger in China

By Karen Graham     Feb 25, 2015 in Environment
China's fireworks displays can be spectacular and loud during the celebration of the Lunar New Year. The noise apparently scared a seven-month-old tiger cub kept in a high-rise apartment, causing it to plunge to its death.
A couple in Pingdu in the eastern province of Shandong were coming home from a New Year's dinner, and happened upon what they thought was a large dog lying dead in the street. Police arrived and found a tiger cub lying on its side with blood oozing from its head.
The tiger cub, seven-months-old, was kept in a cage in a high-rise apartment next to where the body was found. It was determined that the cub became frightened by the noise of the fireworks display going on, and broke out of its cage and plunged to its death on the street below. Police continue their investigation and no arrests have been made.
A pair of tiger cubs in the wild.
A pair of tiger cubs in the wild.
YouTube
Most people would question why in the world someone would keep a tiger in their apartment in the middle of a city. But in China, owning a tiger is a sign of prestige, much the same as having a tiger-skin rug, tiger bone wines and tiger bones.
More tigers in captivity in China than all the tigers in the wild
The numbers of tigers in the wild has dropped from over 100,000 a century ago to less than 3,200 today. But here's the real shocker: an estimated 6,000 or more tigers are being farmed in China. They are not being raised as part of an effort to replenish the species. They are raised as a commodity for profit.
Bus load of tourists visit a tiger farm in China.
Bus load of tourists visit a tiger farm in China.
WWF
Their bones are steeped in alcohol to make tiger bone wine, their meat is sold for consumption and their skins are made into rugs, all to meet the demands of China's growing well-to-do population. This trade in domestically raised tigers is officially sanctioned by the Chinese government.
Wildlife officials in China have been lobbying for the removal of the international ban on tiger bones, arguing that as a country, China has the right to use its own "natural resources" as they see fit. Citing tiger bone wine, they say it is a medically effective part of traditional Chinese medicine, and with the ban lifted, they could easily regulate the trade, thereby reducing the need for wild caught tiger parts.
Tiger carcasses awaiting processing at tiger farm.
Tiger carcasses awaiting processing at tiger farm.
YouTube
China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) has actually supported the tiger farming industry, and there are now almost 200 tiger farms around the country, where tigers are raised in appalling conditions, according to probes conducted by the Washington Post, the EIA. and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
The fate of tigers raised on tiger farms in China is disgusting to see or even think about.
The fate of tigers raised on tiger farms in China is disgusting to see or even think about.
YouTube
Even more thought-provoking is the matter of traditional Chinese medicine. The industry wants to expand into the United States, Australia and other parts of the world and having the stigma of using tiger bones is not something they want to deal with. For that reason, the use of tiger bones is not accepted by most Chinese traditional medicine practitioners. The prevailing feeling now is that tiger farms have a product, looking for a market, rather than the other way around.
More about China, Tiger, tiger farms, Chinese New Year, highrise apartment
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