The Burmese government is too corrupt to be able to discharge its obligations under CITES.
Mong La, Burma is governed by a lawless armed gang. The Burmese government abdicated their responsibilities to govern Mong La (aka: Little Mong La or Xiaomengla) in a deal with the gang. We don’t know what the deal is but it is certainly hugely irresponsible from the perspective of people concerned about the conservation and survival of rare species. I suspect the deal is that government officials gets a cut of the substantial profits from the trade in body parts of protected species. Corruption kills the tiger and all rare species which are traded as commercial products internationally.
This town is on the border between Burma (Myanmar) and China. A perfectly sited place for trading illegal tiger body parts from India and Burma to China. The Chinese love their tiger body parts, which is a major reason why the Bengal tiger is becoming extinct. They are the world’s biggest consumers of tigers.
The greatly increased trade in illegal wild species body parts taking place in Mong La not only includes tigers but the clouded leopard and the leopard. Traders are finding fresh species to harvest as the tiger is so scare (an estimated 3,000 left but I bet that figure is too high).
Shops openly sell tiger parts in Mong La despite it being illegal and despite Burma knowing it is illegal and that they are signed up to an international treaty to prevent it (CITES) which bans the trade. We have to conclude that the Burmese government are failing miserably in their contractual obligations. But this is the status quo. It has always been like this and very little international pressure (or any at all) has been exerted on the Burmese government to change their ways which, starkly, reveals to us how unconcerned Western governments are about the gradual extinction of rare species including the tiger.
Neither has any pressure been directed at China who do very little to change the habits of their citizens. China admits that they allow trade in tiger skins. This is also in breach of their international contractual duties under CITES. But, hey-ho, nothing changes and it is conveniently ignored by all the other signatories to CITES.
It appears that the Chinese pop over the border as tourists and consume the tiger body parts and tiger bone wine in Mongla.
The most common wild cat body parts are from the clouded leopard, which has the most stunning coat pattern. The clouded leopard is a medium sized wild cat which lives in forests as it is arboreal. It has a superb tail for balance.
The prettier the cat is the more likely it is to be killed. In addition to skins and bone the consumers of wild cat body parts like claws, skulls and canine teeth.
The only conclusion we can arrive it is that nothing has changed. There is a distinct lack of commitment amongst leaders to wildlife conservation. The lion, African elephant, cheetah etc.. are also declining in numbers rapidly and you’ll see African elephant ivory openly traded in Mongla in substantial quantities.
The outlook is grim but we are more concerned with buying a new TV than we are in seeking ways to live in harmony with wild animals.
Source: BBC News