Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was likely behind the slaughter of three Amur Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) , an adult female and two cubs, involving two separate incidents in Chongqing, China during the past week. Last Thursday an adult female tiger was found by park officials, the criminals tranquilizing the animal before butchering it; they decapitated it and took the skin and legs, as well. The cubs were found today in a freezer in the park ticketing office, which makes me suspicious whether park officials were involved in the killings, and I don't doubt that similar incidents will likely occur in the future. Despite a trade ban on tiger products, TCM practitioners (and adherents) are still in want of tiger parts, the selfish desire for tiger products greatly contributing to the depletion of wild stocks throughout Asia (for a review, see Richard Ellis' book Tiger Bone and Rhino Horn). There are even murmurs of opening up "tiger farms" in China to start the flow of products back up again (and according to the BBC report there are currently 12 government-licensed tiger farms), but between such practices in China and the persisting efforts of Japan to murder whales for "science" (science in this case meaning the consumer market) I am utterly disgusted this morning. I fear that we will lose the tiger within my lifetime, and even if captive animals hang on in zoos through breeding programs, when the last wild tiger is shot the species will effectively be extinct. At times like this, I can't help but recall the words of Aldo Leopold in the essay "On a Momument to the [Passenger] Pigeon" from A Sand County Almanac;
It is a century now since Darwin gave us the first glimpse of the origin of species. We know now what was unknown to all the preceding caravan of generations: that men are only fellow-voyagers with other creatures in the odyssey of evolution. This new knowledge should have given us, by this time, a sense of kinship with fellow-creatures; a wish to live and let live; a sense of wonder over the magnitude and duration of the biotic enterprise.
Above all we should, in the century since Darwin, have come to know that man, while now captain of the adventuring ship, is hardly the sole object of its quest, and that his prior assumptions to this effect arose from the simple necessity of whistling in the dark.
These things, I say, should have come to us. I fear they have not come to many.
For one species to mourn the death of another is a new thing under the sun. The Cro-Magnon who slew the last mammoth thought only of steaks. The sportsman who shot the last pigeon thought only of his prowess. The sailor who clubbed the last auk thought of nothing at all. But we, who have lost our pigeons, mourn the loss. Had the funeral been ours, the pigeons would hardly have mourned us. In this fact, rather than in Mr. Du Pont's nylons or Mr. Vannevar Bush's bombs, lies objective evidence of our superiority over the beasts.
Just one more reason Chinese medicine deserves every ounce of our ridicule and scorn. Fucking tigers man, there's what? 3000 left? You'd think they have a conscience about this sort of thing...
My chi is aligned thank you very much.
Three attacked in San Francisco zoo, one dead.
In a divers group I belong to, so many hate the whaling/dolphin killing, yet they eat steaks and fish.
I've no problem with the killing and utilization of various animals, tigers, dolphins, chimps, whatever, as long as it's regulated so a population is sustained in a natural ecosystem. Farmed bear livers? Sure, why not, are bears better than chickens? Why? Cuter? More prestigious somehow?
I'd rather a zoo tiger be killed than a tiger that has never seen man.
But in reality, nature itself is becoming domesticated under the grip of Homo sapiens not-so-sapiens, and this will continue for some time.
But evolution clearly shows that this is merely a temporary situation. Once upon a time, amphibians ruled. That didn't last too long. Neither will the age of mammals. I figure the naked mole rat should outlast most others, not sure about us. cheers.