Public attitude toward tiger farming and tiger conservation
The wild tiger Panthera tigris is considered critically endangered, and it faces unprecedented threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, depletion of prey, and continued illegal poaching for trade of tiger bones for traditional medicine and skins for ornamentation and collection.
A recent survey of 677 citizens and 381 college students in Beijing revealed that people hold clear positions on arguments for and against the ban on tiger trade and were inclined to support the ban on trading tiger products. Also, respondents were more balanced toward arguments against the use of farmed tigers to prevent reductions in wild tigers than arguments in support of it.
"Clearly, the public has a clear mind about the value of tigers: tigers belong to the wild and their ecological, cultural and scientific values are more important than their economic value; however, when the habitat of wild tigers no longer exists anymore, like in the case of the South China Tiger, conservation breeding becomes the last option of saving the tigers," said Dr. Zhigang Jiang, co-author of the Animal Conservation article. "When tiger populations in conservation breeding facilities increase, some people think conservation breeding is a kind of 'farming'. How to maintain a suitable and sustainable population size of conservation breeding and how to handle the dead individuals during breeding are problems that still remain."