The illegal trade of bones and other tiger parts for traditional Chinese medicine is killing the last Tigers of the planet
The actions to protect the tigers have gradually changed since the first alarms were raised, approximately two centuries ago. Since then, the defenders of the tigers have seen how the problems that threaten this feline have diversified and the battle fronts of this war have multiplied.
Promoted by the Indian Wildlife Protection Society, this demonstration seeks to make the public aware of the terrible problem of the international trade in ivory and tiger bones. The main threats are no longer hunting for pleasure or the fur market. The demand of traditional Chinese medicine is decimating the populations in Russia and India, now that the number of Chinese tigers has fallen so much that they are considered an irrecoverable subspecies. Countries like China, North Korea or Japan permit, to a greater or lesser extent, the trafficking in parts of the tiger and new threats appear every time a battle is won in this endless war; a war that began over one hundred years ago.
Jai Singhji, the last maharaja of Alwar, built this palace in 1902 in the forests of Sariska, his favourite hunting ground. Today, Sariska is a national park that protects the last tigers in Rajasthan and the palace is a hotel that houses the visitors. The war of the tiger is changing with the years; the battle fronts have moved and former enemies are now allies.
Sariska is an example of these changes. Here, the maharajas of Alwar held great tiger hunts. Of those times, all that now remains are the moth-eaten trophies that decorate the rooms of the palace. Everything else, including the huge tiger populations, have disappeared in time. Then, India was a country of endless jungles in which tigers were free to roam. Initially, hunting for pleasure did not represent an unsustainable pressure, until the jungles began to disappear and the tigers were gradually left without territories.
The words of doctor Karan Singh, the creator of the most successful project for the conservation of tigers of all those carried out around the world, sum up a century of growing threats for the tigers. Hunting for the skins has given way to hunting to obtain the internal organs of the tiger, with supposed medicinal properties. What began as a sporting challenge is now an unstoppable trade, an international trade that is killing off the last tigers on the planet.