The Environmental Investigation Agency and a number of stars are endorsing a new petition calling on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on tiger trade.
The petition has been organised by TigerTime, an initiative of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation which has garnered mass public and celebrity support to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s last remaining wild tigers and campaign to reverse its decline.
The petition urges: “I appeal to Premier Wen Jiabao to send a clear message to his government, calling for an end to all tiger trade within China. This is to include a call for a zero tolerance policy applied to all trade of all parts and derivatives of tiger and other protected Asian big cats, from all sources.”
It has been launched almost a year to the day since Wen Jiabao, at the 2010 International Tiger Conservation Forum in St Petersburg, promised the world his country would “vigorously combat poaching, trade and smuggling of tiger products”.
However, China has refused to answer questions about the implementation of its controversial 2007 Skin Registration Scheme, allowing tiger and leopard skins from ‘legal origins’, including those from captive-bred big cats, to be registered, labelled and sold.
A lack of transparency as to how authorities determine the legality of skins, coupled with inadequate enforcement and growing corruption, is creating a smokescreen for the illegal trade in tiger and leopard skins and derivatives in China.
"EIA has often worked with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation as a fellow member of the Species Survival Network and is pleased to wholeheartedly endorse its TigerTime petition," said EIA Lead Campaigner Debbie Banks. “China has had more than enough time to begin putting its house in order along the lines of Wen Jiabao’s promises in Russia, but instead of shutting down the tiger farms and embracing a zero-tolerance policy on the trade in tiger and big cat skins and derivatives, it instead seems dead set on heading in the wrong direction.”
The TigerTime initiative has secured the support of a large number of household names since launching in June, including Samantha Fox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Sir Roger Moore, Sir Michael Parkinson, Susan Sarandon, Anjelica Huston, Jeremy Irons, Paula Abdul, Neil Gaiman and Joan Jett.
“Signing this petition will help us to put real pressure on the Chinese Government,” says Samantha Fox. “The more people that sign, the more chance that they will listen. Please do this now, to prevent the loss of the last 3200 tigers that are left in the wild”
The TigerTime ‘Ban the Tiger Trade’ petition can be found at www.bantigertrade.com.