When you think of an animal park, you would normally think of animal protection. What you would not expect is to have animal park employees offer you wine made using endangered tiger carcasses.
Travel to enough animal parks in China and that is exactly what you will find.
Tiger Bone Wine, made from the carcass of a Tiger soaked in rice wine, is claimed by many animal parks to be a health tonic used to treat arthritis and rheumatism.
It is illegal to make and sell Tiger Bone Wine, but that hasn’t stopped many animal park workers from producing the drink and attempting to sell it to park visitors.
“The trade in parts of endangered species has been subject to international ban since 1987, and has been outlawed in China since 1989”
When challenged by undercover EPA, Environment Protection Agents, workers claimed and even provided documentation that they were approved by the Chinese government to produce the wine. Whether the documents and the claim where legit is unknown but the EPA called in authorities on two parks suspected of making the wine.
There are a limited number of tigers left in the wild, roughly 3,500 to 7,500, and only about half of those are breeding adults.
Ever since the 1980’s small tiger farms have been created that could actually house more tigers than there are free in the wild. It has been suggested that a removal of the ban on using endangered species would allow the use of farmed tigers for traditional medical purposes without hurting the wild tiger population.
An EPA spokesperson indicated that the cost is much higher to raise tigers than to shoot them in the wild and “Lifting the ban would increase demand and lead to a surge in poaching. It would be far too easy to launder their skins, bones and parts among those from legalised tiger farms. This would effectively declare an open season on wild tigers.”
Tiger Bone Wine has been reported selling for around $25 to $35 per bottle, but good luck clearing customs with it.