Boston, July 18th, 2018 – An illegal tiger breeding facility has been discovered by local authorities in the Czech Republic aided by the research conducted by FOUR PAWS International. On Monday, July 15th, Czech police and customs officers raided properties in Prague and central and northern Bohemia in suspicion of illegal killing of tigers and possession of tiger products. Today, Czech authorities announced they seized a recently killed tiger at one of the properties, along with tiger bones and other tiger products. The suspects of the breeding facility shot the tigers in the eyes to avoid damaging the skins and used their parts to make tiger broth, sell tiger meat, and sell parts to be used for Asian medicines.
One of the target facilities raided this week belonged to well-known circus leader, Mr. Ludvik Berousek. FOUR PAWS began conducting research in June and documented a meeting with Berousek where he proudly showed his tiger breeding facility near Prague and discussed the sale of tigers to Asia. (Footage of this is available via download link) Berousek offered to sell the tigers to Asian buyers and to help facilitate the documents and transfer, boasting he already sold tigers to China in the last three months.
“It’s shocking how the EU does so much to combat the trade of wildlife in other parts of the world, however, we have turned a blind eye to protecting an endangered species on our own doorstep. FOUR PAWS is calling on the European Commission to protect all tigers and to ban the commercial trade of live, captive bred tigers. The EU should take a leading role in protecting these endangered species and ban all commercial trade ensuring tiger traders and businesses have no place in the EU.”
Kieran Harkin, Head of Wildlife Campaigns at FOUR PAWS International
In the Twentieth century alone the world has lost over 90 percent of its tiger populations. Current estimates indicate there are approximately 3,900 tigers left in the wild. The relentless demand for tigers to be displayed commercially and traded for their body parts, which are then used in traditional Asian medicines, significantly contributes to this decline. Tigers born in captivity are exploited for a number of reasons, the most common being for circuses, private keeping, photo opportunities, or for rent to be used at events and parties.
Through this raid and research, it has been revealed the tiger trade is not only an issue in Asia. The lucrative commercial trade of highly protected species and their parts is happening right in the center of Europe. No authority, organization or country knows how many tigers are currently kept in Europe or where they are displaced to throughout their lifetime. The European Union does not only lack effective regulation concerning the trade of tigers and their parts, but also, they lack a clear overview of the actual number of captive tigers and trade of these animals. Only by ensuring there is no market for tigers and their parts in Europe the European Commission can be serious about contributing to protecting wild living tigers. FOUR PAWS has launched a petition today, urging supporters from around the world to ask the European Commission to ban the commercial trade of tigers: https://help.four-paws.org/en/ban-tiger-trade
ABOUT FOUR PAWS
FOUR PAWS is an international animal welfare organization with headquarters in Vienna, Austria and US headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organization strives to help animals in need with sustainable campaigns and projects. The work is based on substantiated research and scientific expertise as well as intensive national and international lobbying. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are directly under human influence: stray dogs and stray cats, farm animals, companion animals and wild animals including bears, big cats and orangutans kept in inappropriate conditions. With offices in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need directly and quickly.