Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Park’

Tiger Park Uproar Cites The Lizard King

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

A week ago Penang Chief Minister Lim proposed creating a tiger park on the Malaysian island to promote “eco-tourism.” Tiger parks already exist in Thailand, Vietnam and China, where tourists can see dozens and dozens of tigers performing circus tricks, but many of these parks can also operate as black market front operations.  Tiger parks were originally created in many cases to supply tiger parts, skins and bones to the Chinese market, but in 1993 China outlawed commercial tiger trade (and gradually enforced it).  As a result some tiger parks transformed themselves into sham tourist attractions which behind the scenes supply tiger parts to the black market.  

Economic stripes:  Tiger parks often house hundreds of tigers while only displaying a few dozen.  For example, during my recent visit to Sriracha Tiger Farm in Thailand I found roughly 40 tigers on display despite the fact that the farm owns more than 400.  The others, I was told, are not for the public to see.  Sriracha boasts over 10,000 crocodiles, which it legally sells to the meat and leather trade.  (I had croc kebabs at the farm’s restaurant).  Commercializing crocs is legal in Thailand, selling tigers is illegal and-though the animals are kept on commercial scale-Sriracha denies selling them for parts.  (Tigers and Crocs are treated differently in part because it is so expensive to raise a tiger to adulthood that everyone knows that if tiger meat, etc. were legalized the first tigers to go would be from the wild. )  There is only one reason most parks have so many tigers–to kill them for the black market.  Now Penang is considering opening a tiger park.  According to Malaysia’s newspaper, The Star , The Lizard King offers insight on the idea….

Uproar over tiger park plan

The claws are out against Penang’s tiger park idea as it is unsuitable for the urban island and infringes the spirit of tiger conservation efforts.

THE response has been ferocious. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s proposed plan to create a tiger park on 40ha of hilly terrain in Relau has been slammed by all and sundry. (more…)