There are now considerably more tigers in captivity than in the wild. Martin Harvey / WWFBy Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Governments need to crack down on illegal tiger trading if the big cats are to be saved, the UN has warned.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in Doha, Qatar heard that tiger numbers are continuing to fall.

Organised crime rings are playing an increasing part in illegal trading of tiger parts, CITES says, as they are with bears, rhinos and elephants.

Interpol is working with CITES to track and curb the international trade.

Last year, World Bank chief Robert Zoellick said the global black market in wildlife products was worth about $10bn per year, making wildlife the third most valuable illicit commodity after drugs and weapons.

Despite attempts to protect tigers, numbers have approximately halved over the last decade, with fewer than 3,200 remaining in the wild.

The decline is seen across sub-species and in most range states. Many populations are small, and are threatened by deforestation as well as poaching.

"If we use tiger numbers as a performance indicator, then we must admit that we have failed miserably and that we are continuing to fail," said CITES secretary-general Willem Wijnstekers.

"Although the tiger has been prized throughout history, and is a symbol of incredible importance in many cultures and religions, it is now literally on the verge of extinction." …

Tiger decline 'sign of failure'

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