Tiger looking cautious

Authorities fear that the killing of Sheila the tiger at Jambi’s Rimbo Zoo is a shocking new development in the illegal wildlife trade. The tiger’s skin, along with body parts in demand for traditional Asian “remedies”, were taken from the tiger’s enclosure.

Officials noted that even the tiger’s blood had been collected.

According to the Jakarta Globe, authorities suspect the poachers went through a gutter into the zoo and made their way to Sheila’s enclosure, where they threw in poisoned bait to kill her.

Didy Wurdjanto, the head of the Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center, is confident that the killing of the tiger was done by professionals who were well aware of the tiger’s value in the illegal wildlife trade.

There is no doubt that the killers were professionals because they did their job very cleanly, taking off the skin in the enclosure rather than dragging the 100-kilogram animal out, which could have attracted attention … I just can’t bear the thought that this could be a new trend in the illegal wildlife trade, [that poachers] are now going after tame tigers in zoos rather than in forests. The demand for tigers is increasing and the price is getting higher because there are so few left.

The head of Taman Rimbo Zoo “refused to speculate on whether zoo staff could have been involved in the crime.”

Increasing demand for tiger parts

Tiger (and rhino) conservation is under serious threat by China’s economic boom: The growing affluence in China and other Asian countries is driving an unprecedented demand for tiger (and rhino) parts for supposed “medicinal” purposes – and as a result, forcing tigers and rhino closer to extinction in the wild.

China has even lobbied to get the ban on their horrific “tiger farms” lifted: See “Breeding Tigers for Commercial Trade in Body Parts.”

Now it appears these murderers will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com / CC BY-ND 2.0