usfws fact sheet | tiger trade

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  • 8/8/2019 USFWS Fact Sheet | Tiger Trade


    U.S. Eforts to Regulate Tiger TradeU.S. Fish & Wildlie Service


    Tigers are classified by IUCN,the Internatonal Union forConservaton of Nature, asEndangered. In additon, tgers arelisted as Endangered under the U.S.Endangered Species Act of 1973.

    Amur tger - also called Siberian tger (Panthera tgris altaica) Derek Ramsey

    What is the status oftgers in the wildand what are the major conservatonthreats to them?

    The tger (Panthera tgris) is the largestand perhaps the best known of thewild cats. It is also one of the mostimperiled. Eight subspecies oftger aregenerally recognized, of which threeare now considered extnct. Althoughthe tger once ranged across Asia fromeastern Turkey to the Russian Far East,it currently survives only in scaeredpopulatons from India to Viet Nam,and in Indonesia, China, and the

    Russian Far East. The principal threatsto wild tger populatons are illegalhuntng and trade, loss of habitat, and adeclining tger prey base. Additonally,the growing popularity and use oftger parts and products in traditonalmedicine poses a significant threatto wild tger populatons. By currentestmates, there are only 3,500 to 5,000tgers remaining in the wild worldwide.

    What U.S. laws and internatonalagreements protect tgers?

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(Service) is the principal Federalagency responsible for implementngand enforcing the U.S. EndangeredSpecies Act (ESA) and the Conventonon Internatonal Trade in EndangeredSpecies of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES). Both the ESA and CITES affordprotecton to endangered speciesand wildlife of global concern. TheUnited States has worked trelesslyalong with other CITES membercountries to encourage the adopton ofmeasures aimed at protectng wild tgerpopulatons from poaching and illegaltrade, and ensuring that breeding oftgers in captvity supports conservatongoals. The ESA specifically prohibitsthe interstate and foreign commercein listed species, such as the tger, andtheir parts and products. The Servicesapproximately 200 Special Agents and120 Wildlife Inspectors within its Officeof Law Enforcement (OLE) help controlillegal trade and interstate sale oftgersand their parts and products.

    ,gers in captvityoals. The ESA sphe interstate and

    listed species, sheir parts and prpproximately 2020 Wildlife Inspef Law Enforceme



    In 1994, the U.S. Congress passed theRhinoceros and Tiger Conservaton Act(RTCA) to assist in the conservaton ofrhinoceroses and tgers by establishingthe Rhinoceros and Tiger ConservatonFund. Through this Fund, the Service

    supports ant

    -poaching programs,habitat and ecosystem management,development of nature reserves,wildlife surveys and monitoring,management of human-wildlife conflict,public awareness campaigns, andother conservaton-related effortsfor rhinoceroses and tgers. The RTCAwas amended in 1998 to prohibit thesale, importaton, and exportatonof products intended for human usecontaining, or labeled or advertsed ascontaining, any substance derived fromany species of rhinoceros or tger.

    The RTCA labeling provision authorizesOLE to seize tger and rhinocerosproducts directly from vendors,distributors, shippers, or importers, andprovides substantal criminal and civilpenaltes for violators. In conjuncton

    with CITES and the ESA, the RTCA is apowerful tool in combatng the globaltrade in products containing tger andrhinoceros parts.

  • 8/8/2019 USFWS Fact Sheet | Tiger Trade


    other medicinals made fromendangered species in cites that rangefrom Los Angeles, San Francisco, andDallas/Fort Worth to Minneapolis,Milwaukee, and Chicago. Recent port-based inspecton efforts have targetedmedicinal shipments imported intoLos Angeles via ocean cargo andmedicinals arriving at internatonalmail facilites in New York and Jersey


    The Service Office of Law Enforcementalso works closely with enforcementcounterparts around the world toaddress tger trafficking. Examplesinclude sharing intelligence withforeign investgatve agencies,maintaining liaison with the CITESSecretariat and Interpol, andproviding training and investgatveassistance on the ground to the 10member countries of the Associatonof Southeast Asian Natons WildlifeEnforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN).For the past 3 years, this partnershipeffort has included statoning a Servicespecial agent in Bangkok as part of anASEAN-WEN Support Program fundedby the U.S. Agency for InternatonalDevelopment.

    U.S. Fish & Wildlie Service

    International Afairs

    Division o Management Authority

    4401 N. Fairax Drive, Room 212Arlington, VA 22203

    703-358-2104 or 800-358-2104


    Summer 2010

    How are captve tgers in the UnitedStates regulated?

    The 2003 Captve Wildlife Safety Act(CWSA) and associated regulatonsgave the Service a new enforcementtool to help keep large cats, includingtgers, in responsible hands. Except for

    certain specified groups and persons orinsttutons licensed or registered by theU.S. Department of Agriculture, Animaland Plant Health Inspecton Service(APHIS) under the Animal Welfare Act,the CWSA makes it illegal to import,export, transport, sell, receive, acquire,or purchase, in interstate or foreigncommerce, live large cats (lion, tger,leopard, snow leopard, cheetah, jaguar,and cougar, including all subspecies andhybrids of these species). In additon, anumber of States and local jurisdictons

    have regulatons controlling thepossession and sale of big cats.


    Tigers once ranged widely acrossAsia, from Turkey to the Russian FarEast, but have now lost more than90% of their historic range. Habitatloss and poaching are considered to

    be the greatest threats to tgers.

    What U.S. enforcement efforts arebeing taken to control the trade intgers?

    The Service investgates violatonsof U.S. wildlife laws and treates thatprotect tgers and works to interceptillegal imports oftger parts and

    products at the natons ports of entry.In recent years, these efforts haveincluded identfying, investgatng, andinterceptng Internet-based trafficking intger commodites such as live animals,skins, rugs, meat, claws, and medicinals.Service casework has documentedviolatons of the ESA, the Federalsmuggling statute, and the RTCA.

    Policing the medicinal trade remainsa priority. Such products are amongthose commonly seized on import

    by Service wildlife inspectors. In the5-year period during 2005-2009, Serviceenforcement officers worked on morethan 300 cases involving violatons ofthe RTCA. Service intelligence analystsrecently launched a focused initatve totarget potental commercial imports ofAsian medicinals and assist inspectors atkey ports of entry in screening high-riskshipments for this type of trafficking.

    Service officers conduct inspectonsweeps of grocery stories and medicinal

    markets potent

    ally sellingt

    ger and


    Under the Rhinoceros and TigerConservaton Act, it is illegalto import or sell any productsintended for human consumptonthat contain, or are labeled ascontaining, any substance derivedfrom rhinoceroses or tgers.

    Sumatran tger (Panthera tgris sumatrae)

    Jessie Cohen/Smithsonian Natonal Zoo