About 90 percent of tiger farms and private zoos in Thailand are suspected to be involved in illegal trade in wildlife, said Mr Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation-Thailand, during a seminar on “Tigers: From Cages to Black Market” on Monday.
Referring to the recent raid of the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi and the eventual relocation of 137 tigers from the temple to a breeding station in Ratchaburi province, Wiek said that the number of tigers seized constituted less than 10 percent of the endangered wildlife illegally traded in this country.
Nevertheless, he noted that the action of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation in saving the tigers had earned high praise from wildlife conservation organizations worldwide for the country’s efforts to protect wildlife.
Citing Cites report, Wiek said that the number of tigers for the past nine years had increased from 940 to over 1,400 raising suspicion that about 90 percent of the tiger farms and private zoos might be involved, in one way or another, with trading in the black market of endangered wildlife.
He disclosed that whenever a tiger was dead in Thailand, illegal traders would be notified within a short period of time to pick up the carcass which would be cut up with its hide removed and saleable organs separated for sale to neighbouring countries.
He further said a tiger which about 100 kilogrammes in weight could fetch between 100,000-200,000 baht and the male tigers would fetch higher prices. But once they are smuggled across the Thai border, the price will jump 3-4 times higher, he added.
Wiek suggested that legal actions should be taken against those found to be involved in the illegal trade in wildlife at the Tiger’s Farm.