Less than a decade ago, the 13 nations where tigers still lived free met in St Petersburg, Russia, and pledged to reverse this majestic cat’s long prowl toward extinction at the hands of human predators. The moment was hailed as historic – the start of an unprecedented undertaking spearheaded by the tiger-range states and supported by a number of partners that included the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the United States, Germany and non-governmental organizations including WWF.
Their simple-sounding but ambitious goal was to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger on the Chinese lunar calendar. In 2010, it was estimated there were as few as 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild.
WWF, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, is a leading conservation NGO and hardly speaks out against tiger farming.
One is because WWF helped China starting its farming, with delivering pure Amur tigers from US zoos (in cooperation with WCS). Another reason is that WWF can’t raise its voice against China as it is affraid to lose its permit to work there – jeopardizing all their work.
Now one of the WWF-employees speaks out against China, but still very diplomatic. It calls for China to take the lead in fighting the tiger trade.
In the article the St Petersburg conference is mentioned. An historic moment for tiger conservation. WWF was the co-organizor of the Global Tiger Initiative and everybody expected that the subject of tiger farming would be on the agenda.
But is was not. China blocked this. And WWF agreed upon it – for obvious reasons.
Now – 9 years late – WWF is making a U-turn.
What would be the reason?