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Profit-hungry tiger breeders behind push to lift China’s trading ban

8 January 2019 - 74   - 0

HONG KONG/HARBIN, China (Reuters) - At the Siberia Tiger Park in the frigid Chinese city of Harbin, visitors can learn about the facility’s successful breeding programme and buy chicken carcasses to toss to around 20 tigers pacing the snow flecked ground of their enclosure.

At the park gates, a shop sells liquor soaked with tiger bones for up to $1,000 a bottle.

China has made significant strides in wildlife protection in recent years, including a total ban on ivory and plans to open one of the world’s largest reserves for wild tigers in northeast China in 2020.

But it also has formidable, profit-driven wildlife business interests that risk undermining progress on protecting the endangered big cats, conservationists say.

“The industry occupies a strategic position which concentrates in the country’s less developed regions where poverty reduction remains a top priority of the local authorities,” said Houston-based Peter Li, a China Policy Specialist at Humane Society International.

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