Tiger hunting in South Africa? How low can they go?
Canned tiger hunting in South Africa
Two tonnes of tiger bones were seized in Vietnam in 2009. Credit © Viet Nam Environmental Police.
July 2013. According to the CITES database, from 2007 - 2011 South Africa exported (Or re-exported) 19 tigers ‘trophies', 7 tiger skins, 2 tiger bodies and 151 live tigers!
Quite why and how tiger trophies are exported from South Africa is anyone's guess, though there have long been rumours that hunting outfits in South Africa have been offering tiger hunts. One of the licences for a tiger trophy was actually declared as a ‘Hunt trophy' with the specimen being ‘taken from the wild'. This trophy was exported to Pakistan. Additionally, two more of the trophies were ‘taken from the wild', though not declared as hunting trophies (what other sort is there?) and the rest of the ‘trophies' having been bred in captivity and privately owned.
Aside from the trophy to Pakistan, of the rest, 3 went to Lebanon, 1 to Austria, 2 to Norway, 6 to the UAE, 1 to Qatar, 1 to Poland and 2 more to Pakistan. That sounds about right.
If this is true, there can be no such thing as a wild tiger hunt in South Africa, so the hunt must have been a canned hunt. IE, a tame or semi-tame tiger in a restricted, fenced in area.
Live tiger exports
151 live tigers were exported, which is an extraordinary number. A few may have been en-route to other countries (15 were exported to Botswana - Why the sudden need to tigers in Botswana? As far as I can tell there are no zoos in Botswana. Reeks of hunting to me.), but it is still a very worrying trend. 76 tigers went to the UAE, perhaps en route elsewhere, perhaps not, but either way, it is worrying. 20 tiger were exported to Vietnam, and 14 to Myanmar, which is sinister. Both countries have native tiger populations, and both are known hubs for trading in illegal tiger products, so there is little chance that those tigers are still alive.
Over the same period, South Africa has exported hundreds of lions, thought mostly in kit form (Trophies, skeletons, skins and bones), with hundreds going to the USA, and large quantities also going to Russia, Vietnam, Norway, Mexico, Laos(A lot of bones), Spain (I thought they were hard up, except the King?) and China.
This stinks to me. - Powell Ettinger - Editor