It’s horrible, but unfortunately true.
Farmed tigers are bred in squalid conditions to feed the international market for illegal wildlife products.
The captive tigers are bred to be traded as decorative skins, ingredients for Traditional Asian Medicine or tonics like tiger bone wine, as well as to lure tourists.
There has been an international ban on the trade in tigers and their products for decades.
Tiger farms across Asia are thought to hold up to 8,000 captive tigers – far more than the estimated 3,890 tigers left in the wild.
Recent seizures have highlighted Vietnam as a hotspot for trafficking, which has come under international scrutiny recently in relation to the illegal trade in rhino horn, ivory and tiger parts.
Late last year, you may have seen reports about the closure of Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple. When the temple was shut down, authorities made the grisly discovery that the temple had been breeding the tigers en masse to be sold into the illegal wildlife trade.
They found 137 captive tigers as well as the bodies of 40 tiger cubs in a freezer, 30 cubs preserved in jars and around 1,000 amulets made from tiger skin.
By feeding the demand for tiger products, the farms complicate enforcement efforts and ultimately boost demand for tiger parts. This puts the already critically low population of wild tigers at risk of poachers.