The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has called on Asian countries to close their tiger farms to boost efforts against the black-market trade in the cat’s parts.
The conservation group said there remained 200 tiger farms in Asia, mostly in China, Laos and Thailand.
The tiger population in farms is about 8,000, more than the estimated 3,900 living in the wild, WWF said in a statement ahead of International Day of the Tiger (July 29).
Many tiger farms have been implicated in the hugely lucrative but illegal trafficking market, it said.
The universal closure of such farms was crucial because their existence undermines efforts of countries to protect cats living in the wild and creates demand for products made of tiger parts, WWF stated.
Tigers living in farm-like captivity have become habituated to human presence and cannot simply be released in the wild, the group said.
The so-called “Temple of Tigers” in western Thailand was closed in May after Thai wildlife officials discovered dozens of dead cubs inside a freezer.
At a conference in Russia’s St. Petersburg in 2010, 13 Asian countries agreed to double the number of tigers living in the wild on the continent by 2022, which is the Year of the Tiger in the lunar calendar.