TED Case Studies

Tiger Trade

          CASE NUMBER:          70 
          CASE MNEMONIC:      TIGER
          CASE NAME:          Tiger Trade


1.        The Issue

     As Russia's borders became permeable due to economic reforms
it increased trade activities, including the illegal hunting and
trading of tigers.  Siberian tigers (Amur tigers) are poached and
traded with China for large sums of money by individual poachers.
It has been known that many Asian countries use animal parts for
medicinal and aphrodisiac purposes.  India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and
other Asian countries are also engaged in this illegal but
lucrative business.  Due to these activities, the tiger population
has decreased considerably and they have become an endangered
species.  All tigers are prohibited from commercial international
trade by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) treaty.  TRAFFIC, a
department in the World Wildlife Fund, has reported that of the
fourteen tiger range countries only six are Party to the CITES
treaty.  Most of these countries give a low priority to
conservation of nature because of inadequate infrastructure, low
funding, dated equipment and inadequate training of staff members. 

2.        Description

     Tigers are native to Asia, and live in temperate or tropical
regions.  At the beginning of the century approximately 100,000
tigers roamed the world, whereas today only about 6,000-7,000 cats
remain in the wild.  Among the eight subspecies of the tigers three
are already extinct.  Almost all the Siberian tigers (250-400) live
in the Southeast corner of Russia (especially on the Kamchatka
peninsula) and are severely threatened by poaching (see SIBERIA and
TAIGA cases).

     The animals are hunted for use of their body parts in the
Oriental medicinal market and to produce exotic souvenirs for the
tourists.  Tiger bones are used to cure joint and back pains,
paralysis and muscular spasms, its brain is used to cure acne (see
also BEAR and SWIFT cases).  The use of animal parts has been
practiced in many Asian countries for centuries, and a belief in
their efficiency for treating illness is deeply rooted in the local

     Due to a lack of control, tiger populations in Siberia have
been in flux in the last half century and the Siberian tiger
population was very low during the 1930s, the Soviet government
installed strict laws banning the shooting of tigers during the
1950s.  This led to a population increase.  However, Gorbachev's
reform policies opened up many doors for Russia entrepreneurship,
including the illegal poaching, hunting and selling of these
endangered species.  These large cats are very valuable: each
selling for between $4,000-$6,000.  Some tigers are sold abroad for
$20,000-$30,000 via middlemen, yielding huge profits.  Vladimir I.
Shetinin, department head from the Ministry of Ecology Russia, said
that about 100 Amur tigers (one third of the population) were
poached over the last two years in the Primorsk region where the
tigers live.  About thirty tigers live on the research site of
Sikhote Alinsk Nature Reserve, north of Vladivostock. 

     Most Siberian tigers are killed for export to China.  As a
member of CITES, the People's Republic of China (PRC) is
(allegedly) committed to stopping the illegal trade of animals,
such as tigers, and consequently the decline of their population. 
However, tiger products are in evidence in China.  The State
Council of the PRC however reported that existing stockpiles of
tiger derivatives in China were obtained before China joined CITES. 

     Under pressure from Western governments, on May 29, 1993 the
State Council of the People's Republic of China issued a notice
declaring the use of rhinoceros horn and tiger bone for medicinal
purposes to be illegal (see USCHINA, RHINO, and ELEPHANT cases). 
The government of the PRC encouraged the  Ministry of Public Health
and the pharmaceutical companies to seek substitute medicines for
the above mentioned animal parts.  The PRC government further
stated that individuals caught in the illegal trading of animals
will be dealt by the judiciary department.  The Clinton
Administration imposed sanctions on China (and Taiwan) for
importing tiger parts in violation of the CITES treaty.  

     The New York Times reported a sting operation was performed by
the K.G.B. in February 1993, where the agents confiscated an Amur
tiger skin from a game warden in Ternei oblast, where the Sikhote
Alinsk has its office.  According to the warden he killed the tiger
in self defense.  Reports suggest that most game wardens make ends
meet by hunting the animals they are supposed to protect.   It is
also true that due to loss of land, trees and other habitat, the
tigers are invading the local villages and killing livestock to
survive.  Local governments in Russia are selling lands to foreign
companies for cash.  These companies have cut down thousands of
acres of trees thereby causing danger to the tiger habitat. 
Private organizations, such as, the Exxon Corporation, the National
Geographic Society and the National Wildlife Federation have
donated almost one millon dollars for anti-poaching programs in the
Vladivostock region.

3.        Related Cases

     BEAR case
     USCHINA case
     SWIFT case
     ELEPHANT case

     Keyword Clusters         

     (1): Trade Product            = TIGER
     (2): Bio-geography            = COOL
     (3): Environmental Problem    = Species Loss Land [SPLL]

4.        Draft Author:  Rina Dey

B.        LEGAL Clusters

5.        Discourse and Status:  DISagreement and INPROGress

     International agreement on protecting tigers exists with China
under the CITES treaty.  Russia has domestic laws protecting its
environment but is not a member of CITES.  

6.        Forum and Scope:  RUSSia and UNILATeral

7.        Decision Breadth: 1 (Russia)

     Although the case focuses on domestic Russian law, the source
of demand for tiger products comes from outside the country.

8.        Legal Standing:  LAW

C.        GEOGRAPHIC Clusters

9.        Geographic Locations

     a.   Geographic Domain : ASIA
     b.   Geographic Site   : SIBERIA 
     c.   Geographic Impact : RUSSIA

10.       Sub-National Factors:  NO

11.       Type of Habitat:  COOL

D.        TRADE Clusters

12.       Type of Measure:  Regulatory Ban [REGBAN]

13.       Direct vs. Indirect Impacts:  INDirect

14.       Relation of Measure to Environmental Impact

     a.  Directly Related     : YES  TIGER 
     b.  Indirectly Related   : YES  PHARMaceutical 
     c.  Not Related          : NO
     d.  Process Related      : YES  Species Loss Land [SPLL]

15.       Trade Product Identification:  TIGER

     Tiger is used for many reasons (clothing, for example), but
the greatest values is as a medicinal (i.e. "tiger" pills).  The
products from the tiger go to differ points in the world.  Skins
often go east from India, to Arab states, and the bones and parts
west to China and Taiwan.  

16.       Economic Data

     "In previous years China had slaughtered thousands of its
tigers, claiming the animal was a pest that endangered humans.  The
massacre created a temporary glut of tiger bones -- more than
enough to satisfy the traditional medical market."  Stockpiles
lasted into late 1980s, then poaching returned.

17.       Impact of Measure on Trade Competitiveness:  BAN

     Effective enforcement of laws in both China and Russia could
solve this problem.  It is amazing so much of this trade gets
through the most heavily militarized border between any two
countries in the world.  The Clinton administration deployment of
sanctions over continued rhino and tiger trade is first time the
trade measures had been used to protect the environment.  Sanctions
on Taiwan equalled about $25 million, coral, mollusk-shell jewelry,
and lizard, snake, and crocodile skin shoes, and other leather
products.  Overall trade with Taiwan is $25.1 billion, and
therefore the impact quite minimal.

18.       Industry Sector:  PHARMaceutical

19.       Exporter and Importer:  RUSSIA and CHINA

E.        ENVIRONMENT Clusters

20.       Environmental Problem Type:  Species Loss Land [SPLL]

     No more than 5,000-7,500 tigers remain on the planet.  India
has 60 percent alone.  "According to another report, more than 20
tigers were poached in the Lazo preserve in the southern Sikhote-
Alin, more than half of the animals thought to inhabit the area." 
Similar tobBears, Chinese have moved to farming tigers as supplies
became short.  "In China, Siberian tigers have been captive-bred
for commercial use since 1986."

21.       Name, Type, and Diversity of Species 

     Name:          Tiger (Panthera Tigris Altaica)
     Type:          Animal/Vertibrate/Mammal/Carnivore
     Diversity:     22 mammals pere 10,000 km/sq (former USSR)

     "For decades, the last viable population of wild Siberian
tigers has inhabited a remote mountainous enclave, the Sikhote-Alin
range in a region of Russian know as Ussiriland.  In fact, the term
Siberian is misleading because this race of tigers does not range
as far north as Siberia.  The Russians, and many foreign
scientists, prefer to call it the Amur tiger, referring to the Amur
River than drains most of the western slope of the Sikhote-Alin."

22.       Resource Impact and Effect:  HIGH and PRODuct

     "Tigers require an enormous home range, or hunting are to find
prey.  Research by Russian wildlife biologists has shown that a
female Siberian tiger may use 125 to 250 square miles of habitat. 
Males range over a much wider area of from 500 to 620 square

23.       Urgency and Lifetime:  SHORT and 30-40 years??

24.       Substitutes:  LIKE

     Other products, whether as a medicine or an article are easily
available.  Some substitute products are being developed.  In
August 1994, on a visit to northeast China by Jim Lee, tiger
products were still sold openly but sales people admit that there
probably is not any tiger contained in the products.  However, the
perception itself probably kills tigers every year.

VI.       OTHER Factors

25.       Culture:  YES

     Most trade is for culturally-based medicinal products of
little scientific value.  However, the tiger is deeply etched into
human consciousness.  "On the banks of the Amur River in Russia,
archaeologists discovered 6,00 year old depictions of tigers carved
by the Goldis people, who revered the tiger as an ancestor and as
god of the wild regions.  In Hindu mythology the goddess Durga
raises the tiger and English school children are versed in William
Blake's "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright."  Cultural attachment runs
high in certain beliefs.  "The eyes, bones, and teeth of tigers are
considered by many Asians to have potent medicinal and spiritual

26.       Trans-Border:  YES

     The domain covers parts of Russia, North Korea and China.  In
Vietnam, for the Indo-chinese tiger, "you can also buy 'tiger
wine,' little bags of bone shards, and grind your own potion at
home."  The shop-keeper paid about $7,000 for the animal.  "The
shop's main customers are visitors primarily from South Korea and
Twaiwan, with a few from Hong Kong and China."

27.       Rights:  NO

     An indirect outcome of the trade does have rights
implications.  Indian rebels called the Boros trade in tiger to get
funds to support insurgency.

28.       Relevant Literature

"Anti-Poaching Teams to Protect Remaining Siberian Tiger
     Population."  Focus 16/2 (March-April 1994): 1, 6.
Glick, Daniel. "Can Russia Save the Endangered Siberian tiger?"
     Newsweek January 18, 1993 p. 51.
Jackson, Peter. "The Status of The Tiger in 1993." The World
     Conservation Union p. 1-12.
"Notice Promulgated By The State Council On The Prohibition Or
     Trade In Rhinoceros Horn And Tiger Bone." Document from
     the Chinese Embassy, Washington DC, May 29, 1993.
Possehl, Suzanne.  "Russians and Americans Team Up to Save
     Endangered Tiger."  The New York Times (August 31, 1993):
Quigley, H.  "Saving the Siberian Tiger Trade."  The National
     Geographic (July 1993).
Schafer, Kevin and Hill, Martha.  "The Logger and the Tiger."
     Wildlife Conservation 96/3: 21-29.
"Tigers on the Brink."  Time 143/13 (March 28, 1994): 44-51.
"U.S. Puts Sanctions on Taiwan."  New York Times (April 12,
     1994): D1.


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