VIETNAM — Despite a ban on trading wild animal products, the Vietnamese government plans to auction confiscated tiger paste. While this plan does not violate the ban because of a loophole for animal products in traditional medicines, it has caused outrage among conversationalists who state that this auction condones the poaching of tigers. We agree; you can’t put an end to tiger poaching without addressing the demand and to have a government authority actually auction of tiger paste clearly sends the wrong message. — Global Animal
HANOI, Vietnam — A local conservation group voiced opposition Friday to the planned sale of tiger paste by Vietnamese authorities, amid warnings by the international community that the animal’s survival is in serious jeopardy.
Officials in Vietnam’s northern Thanh Hoa province agreed last month to organize a public auction of 6 pounds (2.8 kilograms) of tiger paste seized from traffickers. An auction date has not been set.
Vietnam bans the hunting or trade of wild animals and their products, but the Ministry of Agriculture has issued a directive allowing its use in making medicines.
In Vietnam, tiger bones are used to make expensive traditional medicines purported to cure many illnesses. Two pounds (1 kilogram) of tiger paste could be sold for $10,000 on the black market.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, deputy director of Hanoi-based Education for Nature Vietnam, said Thanh Hoa authorities had used a “loophole” in the law to allow the sale of the tiger paste.
“The auctions go against conservation efforts,” she told The Associated Press in a phone interview, adding the move has “helped legitimize the trade of the animal.”
“We had recommended that the paste be destroyed to send a clear message to the public that the authorities do not encourage the consumption of wild animals’ products,” she said.
Wildlife experts warned at a summit last month in St. Petersburg, Russia, that wild tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching.
The World Wildlife Fund and other experts say only about 3,200 tigers remain in the wild – a dramatic plunge from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.
Read more about the Tiger Summit’s efforts to save tigers from extinction: Tiger Summit Raises $330 Million And Concerns