Associated Press reports that Laos has promised to phase out farms that breed endangered tigers for their body parts, a positive step from a country believed to be a major hub of wildlife trafficking in Asia, conservation groups said Friday (October 21).
The announcement by Laotian officials in South Africa came one day before the start of a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.
If implemented, the move could help to curb the illegal trade in tiger bones and other parts used in traditional medicine in areas of Asia, and protect the depleted population of tigers. Conservation groups say there are about 3,900 tigers in the wild.
Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese criminal networks are also involved in tiger farming and trading, according to the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency.
The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which works with Laos on tiger protection, urged other Asian countries with commercial tiger breeding centers to follow the example of Laos.