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For Immediate Release: 07/29/14

Born Free USA and The Born Free Foundation Call for Global Action to End Tiger Farming on International Tiger Day

Washington, D.C. -- Today, on International Tiger Day, a shocking new report, entitled Caged Assets: Tiger Farming and Trade, co-authored by the international wildlife charity, The Born Free Foundation, shines the spotlight on tiger ‘farming,’ as the species heads towards extinction in the wild.

This report brings attention to the little known industry of Asia’s barbaric captive-bred tiger farms, where animals can be kept in cramped unnatural conditions, with row upon row of cages filled with pacing malnourished tigers. These notorious establishments are often open to the public, with tigers displayed in entertainment shows.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and acting CEO of the Born Free Foundation, “Tigers tragically represent the global threat to endangered species and the human responsibility to halt the downward spiral toward extinction. When we look at conservation history and see 100,000 wild tigers in 1900 and approximately 3,000 today, we must renew our resolve to keep tigers in the wild, safe from poachers and tiger parts profiteers. Breeding tigers for sale – whether in America’s backyards or intensive Chinese tiger farms – is not the answer. The only answer is to stop trade and equip park rangers, whether in India or the Russian Far East, so they can defend the last of the species.”

Will Travers OBE, President of Born Free Foundation, added, “On a day like today, I must ask myself how we, as global citizens, have allowed the majestic, emblematic tiger to arrive at this perilous situation. This International Tiger Day begs all of us, especially government leaders globally, to re-examine what is being done to save wild tigers, and to redouble our efforts to protect the last of the species before it’s too late.”

China, for example, has only between 40 and 50 wild tigers remaining but more than 5,000 tigers in captive breeding facilities, ranging in size from a handful of tigers to two establishments which have more than 1,000 tigers in each. These facilities can be a ready source for a number of tiger products such as tiger skins - used as luxury home décor and for tiger bone wine, made by hanging tiger carcasses in vats of wine and then bottling - a prestigious item used to show wealth and status and gifted to curry favor or give thanks for a business deal.

Poaching of tigers in range countries further afield, such as India, continues, and despite a 1975 ban on international tiger trade, seizures of tigers and tiger products across the Asian region show a healthy ongoing trade, with a mingling of captive bred tigers and wild tigers. This highlights a growing concern among conservationists: that these captive bred tigers are not only feeding demand for tiger products across Asia, but are also stimulating it, placing an additional and unsustainable pressure on their wild counterparts.

The illegal trade in tiger parts and products, poaching, conflict between tigers and communities living alongside them, and habitat loss and degradation, have caused wild tiger populations to plummet to as few as 3,000 individuals.

Today’s Born Free report calls on all countries with tiger breeding facilities to urgently phase out tiger farms, destroy stockpiled tiger parts, and implement measures which address the use of captive bred tigers in trade.

Travers concluded, “The many threats faced by tigers today cannot be underestimated, and how we respond to them now is critical to the tiger’s future. Our children’s children will judge us on what we do now, and we must ensure that tiger farming becomes almost a figment of their imagination: an aberration that was firmly consigned to history and will never again be repeated.”

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. The Foundation rescues animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and gives them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. The Foundation’s high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers, and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. More at www.bornfree.org.uk.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, the organization leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Media contact: Rodi Rosensweig, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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