Why do poachers use the bones of tigers?

Introduction: Poaching and the Tiger Bone Trade

Poaching is a major threat to wildlife conservation, and one of the most prominent examples of this is the illegal trade in tiger bones. Tigers are hunted for their bones, which are used in traditional medicine and as a status symbol. The demand for tiger bones has led to the decline of tiger populations, with some subspecies being critically endangered.

Traditional Medicine and the Demand for Tiger Bones

The use of tiger bones dates back to ancient Chinese medicine, where they were believed to have healing properties. Tiger bones were used to treat a variety of ailments, including rheumatism, fever, and arthritis. The demand for tiger bones has also spread to other countries, such as Vietnam, where they are believed to have similar medicinal properties.

The Belief in the Healing Properties of Tiger Bones

The belief in the healing properties of tiger bones is based on traditional Chinese medicine, which holds that the body consists of five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Tiger bones are believed to contain the element of water, which is associated with the kidneys and bladder. It is believed that consuming tiger bones can help to treat kidney and bladder problems, as well as improve overall health and vitality.

The Role of Tiger Bones in Chinese Medicine

Tiger bones are an important ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, where they are used to make a variety of remedies, including pills, powders, and potions. These remedies are believed to treat a range of ailments, from joint pain to impotence. In China, tiger bones were once widely used in medicine, but their use has now been banned by the government due to concerns about the impact on tiger populations.

The Use of Tiger Bones in Other Traditional Medicines

The use of tiger bones is not limited to Chinese medicine. They are also used in Tibetan, Korean, and Vietnamese traditional medicine, where they are believed to have similar healing properties. The demand for tiger bones in these countries has contributed to the decline of tiger populations across Asia.

The High Price of Tiger Bones in the Black Market

The high demand for tiger bones has led to a thriving black market trade in these products. Tiger bones are highly sought after and can fetch prices of up to $1,000 per kilogram. The illegal trade in tiger bones is estimated to be worth millions of dollars each year, making it a lucrative business for poachers and traders.

The Decline of Tiger Populations Due to Poaching

Poaching for tiger bones is one of the main reasons for the decline in tiger populations. It is estimated that there are now fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, down from around 100,000 a century ago. The demand for tiger bones is driving this decline, as poachers seek to profit from the illegal trade.

The International Ban on Tiger Trade and Its Effectiveness

In 1993, the international trade in tiger bones was banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Despite this ban, the illegal trade in tiger bones continues to thrive, with poachers and traders finding ways to evade the law. The effectiveness of the ban has been questioned, with some arguing that it has simply driven the trade underground.

The Need for Sustainable Alternatives to Tiger Bones

To save the tigers, there is a need for sustainable alternatives to tiger bones. One approach is to promote the use of alternative medicines, such as herbs and plant-based remedies. Another approach is to develop synthetic substitutes for tiger bones, which can be used in traditional medicine. However, changing cultural beliefs and practices is not an easy task and requires a long-term commitment from governments, communities, and individuals alike.

Conclusion: Ending the Demand for Tiger Bones and Saving the Tigers

The illegal trade in tiger bones is a major threat to the survival of these magnificent creatures. To save the tigers, we need to end the demand for tiger bones. This requires a concerted effort from governments, communities, and individuals around the world. By promoting sustainable alternatives to tiger bones and working to change cultural beliefs and practices, we can help to ensure a future for these iconic animals.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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