Chinese consider legalizing domestic trade in tiger parts

China may soon drop its domestic trade ban on tigers and goods made from tiger parts, which has been in place since 1993. Though the change under consideration would only allow trade based on farm-bred, captive tigers, wildlife campaigners worry that it would push up demand and encourage illegal poaching of wild animals. Nearly every part of a tiger is thought to have some medicinal value in traditional Chinese medicine; that belief drives a lucrative black market that threatens to wipe out what’s left of the world’s estimated 5,000 wild tigers. International trade in tiger products is already banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species treaty, but that’s not enough, say activists — China’s domestic ban is essential. “Make no bones about it,” said the World Wildlife Fund’s Callum Rankine. If China lifts the ban, “this could be the end for tigers.”