World’s Largest Photo Mosaic of Tiger Unveiled at CITES; World Leaders Urged to End Tiger Trade
“We think a mosaic made from photos of tiger fans is a powerful way to remind
world governments that the eyes of the world are watching what happens at
CITES,” said Dr. Bivash Pandav, head of WWF’s international tiger programme.
“The fate of wild tigers is in the hands of governments around the globe. Tigers
won’t survive without meaningful new commitments by governments to scale up law
enforcement and protection.”
Wild tigers face an emerging threat from Chinese tiger farms, which now house
nearly 5,000 captive-bred tigers. The farm owners are pressuring the Chinese
government to lift its successful 14-year ban on domestic trade in tiger bones
and products. The Chinese delegation to CITES distributed a position paper this
week saying it was maintaining the ban for now, but listing the supposed
benefits of trading products made from farmed tigers.
“As someone who works in the field to stop tiger poaching, I’ve seen how
China’s ban has eased poaching pressure on wild tigers,” said Prasanna Yonzon,
CEO of Wildlife Conservation Nepal. “Lifting the ban to allow a handful of
investors to profit from selling tiger parts would doom tigers in the wild by
reigniting demand. And poachers would have a greater incentive to go after wild
The coalition is calling on the Chinese government to reject the pending
petition by tiger farm investors that seeks to overturn the country’s ban, close
down the country’s numerous tiger farms and destroy the stockpile of carcasses
being stored on these farms so they cannot enter illegal
Tiger Photo Mosaic Facts
- So far, close to 25,000 people from at least 146 countries have submitted their photos online to create the International Tiger Coalition’s photo mosaic. Of the 146 countries represented on the mosaic, 142 are members of CITES.
- Photos may be submitted for the online version of the mosaic through 15 June via www.endtigertrade.org.
- Additionally, 32,000 signatures have been collected for a message of appreciation to China, urging the country to keep in place its successful ban on domestic tiger trade.
- The mosaic billboard unveiled at the CITES meeting in The Hague covers 36 square meters and is the height of a two-storey building.
- Citizens from every tiger range state contributed photos to the mosaic: China, India, Myanmar, Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh, Russia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
- The 10 countries submitting the most photos were the Netherlands, the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, China, Sweden and Malaysia.
- The International Tiger Coalition is an unprecedented alliance of environmental, zoo and animal protection organizations as well as the traditional Chinese medicine community, that have come together to speak with one voice in calling for an end to trade in tiger parts and products through increased intelligence-led law enforcement and strengthening existing tiger trade bans. Furthermore, the coalition joins leaders of the international traditional Chinese medicine industry in asking China to make its successful 14-year tiger trade ban permanent.