In celebration of Global Tiger Day on July 29th, 2015, Tigers for Tigers released a cartoon featuring President Obama and President Jinping of China. The emphasis of the illustration compared how the two world leaders differend when presented with the question, "Where are the tigers?"
This question is as important today as it was back in July, and the arrival of President Xi Jinping on his first official visit to the United States presents the perfect opportunity for Obama to directly address China’s controversial tiger farms.
These tiger farms are home to over 6000 tigers, double the number of tigers remaining in the wild. The farms fuel a continued demand for tiger parts, in the form of decorative skins or bones used to brew tiger bone wine. These tiger products are status symbol utilized primarily by China’s growing middle class to convey wealth and status. Contrary to China’s claims, these farms increase the demand for wild tiger products as they are more highly desired than their captive counterparts and therefore result in a higher profit for the seller.
Today, Tigers for Tigers has joined twelve international tiger conservation organizations in signing a letter to President Obama urging him to take advantage of Xi’s stateside visit to address China’s tiger farming and trade.
While the two leaders will have plenty to speak about during Xi’s time in the U.S., it is crucial to address this major threat to the survival of our tiger mascot now. The longer this issue is swept under the rug, the more difficult it will be to end the tiger farming industry before it has caused irreversible damage to wild tiger populations. By working together, we stand a fighting chance to save our mascot.