"This tiger fur is OK, it's farmed", is this a phrase that we will soon be hearing?
The Liberty Institute, a free-market think tank based in New Delhi, India, has suggested that farming tigers could prevent wild tigers being hunted to extinction. The Institute estimates that approximately 4000 tigers are already being reared in farms in China. Conservationists fear that any further expansion in tiger farming could lead to the legalisation of use of body parts in traditional Chinese medicine and international trade in fur. Chinese law currently forbids the killing of the tigers so they have to die from natural causes before their bodies are used.
Before China can take advantage of internationally trading tiger parts it will need approval from other CITES member states, whether it gains such approval on the grounds of conservation remains to be seen.
More information on tiger conservation can be found on CAB Abstracts:
Assisted reproduction and cryopreservation of genome resource in wildlife for global biodiversity - zoos and aquariums potentiality for global health.
by Fukui, D. Asahikawa Municipal Asahiyama Zoological Park & Wildlife Conservation Center, Kuranauma, Higashiasahikawa-cho, Asahikawa 078-8205, Japan. Japanese Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 2006, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 1-10, 56 ref.
Natural habitats should be restored so that wildlife will still be present for the next generation. Zoos and aquariums should make a great effort simultaneously for the longer term contribution to global biodiversity conservation by international cooperation with other conservation organizations. To ensure the survival of endangered species and to maintain their captive population number with genetic diversity, it is essential that great efforts should be made to establish assisted reproductive techniques and cryopreserve the cells such as germplasm. Five zoos and Hokkaido University have been developing research on assisted reproduction in the Amur tiger and Hokkaido brown bear. As part of the time capsule project for genes and cells of endangered wildlife, tissue samples of threatened species were taken and transported to NIES for cell culture and cryopreservation. Primordial germ cells (PGCs) have been collected and cryopreserved from the eggs of captive birds. We also study the production of interspecific germline chimaeras by use of the PGCs transplant operation to breed endangered birds in the future. Assisted reproduction and cell preservation are not directly contributing to wildlife conservation. The introduction of these scientific attempts to the general public must be done to give them the opportunity to know the current status of wildlife as a tool of environmental education. In this review, studies on assisted reproduction and cryopreservation of cells from endangered wildlife is introduced and zoo potentiality for wildlife and global health conservation is described.