Zoos kill healthy tigers for the skin trade
ZOOS are killing healthy tigers and other endangered species and
selling their skins to be stuffed and mounted as trophies for private
collectors, an investigation has found.
The skins are sold by the zoos to taxidermists who prepare them for
clients in defiance of attempts by the government to stifle the trade
in tiger products.
Last week undercover reporters from The Sunday Times were offered the
skins from two zoo tigers, which were both only a few years old when
they died, for £6,000. "There are too many of them and if they are not
put down they will die of old age, get incinerated and thrown away,"
Andre Brandwood, a Hertford-shire taxidermist, told them.
He said zoos had recognised there was a market and were placing a
"shelf life" on animals to cash in by having them stuffed before they
got old, suffered illness and then cost them money. "What’s happening
is that various zoos . . . [have] realised there’s a market, hence . .
. there is a fixed price on tigers."
The taxidermists sell the stuffed tigers in
loophole in the European Union law controlling the trade in endangered
Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation said: "It is abhorrent to
imagine zoo animals, some of which may have been visitors’ favourites,
are being killed to feed a demand for trinkets and decorative items."
Craig Redmond of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society said zoos
were overbreeding and creating a massive surplus of animals. "Nobody
wants old animals. They think the public want to see babies," he said.