Some people have asked me how I get subject matter for my blogs.
Well, very sadly I have only to open my eyes and I see something unsavory in the news or on the internet.
This week I could hardly not notice the horrendous news that eleven Siberian tigers in the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in northeast China’s Lianoning province have died of starvation. They were kept in little cages (this is something that we all find depl0rable) and because the zoo had run out of funds the tigers were fed only a couple of chicken carcasses a day. They eventually died of hunger. In one case, six tigers died in one day.
With only a handful (20) of Siberian tigers still alive on the Chinese – Russian border area, this is just deplorable and disgraceful. The South Chinese tiger is believed to be extinct.
A zoo official said: “The zoo is in a financial crisis and we haven’t been able to provide the tigers with sufficient food for the last two years. An adult tiger eats about 20lb of meat a day, but the tigers here can barely get a chicken to quench their hunger every one or two days.”
The W0rld Wildlife Fund has staged rescues of animals from war torn zoos – where were they in this instance?
The Navhind Times in Goa expressed beautifully and succinctly the deeper meaning behind the fate of the tiger in its editorial dated 10th February, 2010, titled ‘Living with Tigers’. I quote –
Saving the tiger means saving humanity. The tiger is a symbol of the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the food chain. Saving tigers means saving the animals the tiger lives on, such as buffalo and deer.
As these animals live on plants, saving them for the tiger means saving the forests. And saving the forests means more oxygen in the atmosphere, protection of soil and storage of rain water, which are necessary for the survival of man.
Thus, saving tigers means saving humanity. If tigers are not there, our future generations won’t be there.”
However, Chinese zoos are a disgrace. Live antelopes and chickens are fed to lions as a ‘show’ to patrons. One of my friends confirmed that she saw this horrendous spectacle in China. A little bus full of blood thirsty locals travelled around the zoo to watch live animals being thrown to beasts of prey. Furthermore, the lions (for example) who had no hunting skills due to being in captivity for so long, did not know how to quickly kill their dinner and hence the poor creature suffered a slow and unpleasant death.
It appears that the only interest Chinese show for animals is in relation to food or Chinese medicine.
A primary factor in the decline of many shark species around the world is the market in shark fins. The fins are the principal ingredient in Chinese Shark Fin Soup which is considered to be a delicacy and has been served at Chinese banquets for centuries. The sharks are caught – their fins chopped off and the finless shark thrown back in the ocean to die. Despite the fact that wildlife organisations deplore the brutality involved, and certain shark species have been listed as endangered, there appears to be no abatement to the insatiable appetite of the Chinese for this soup.
Bear paws are hacked off live bears for banquets.
But even more horrendous is the harvesting of bear bile for traditional Chinese medicine. For centuries, bears have been kept prisoners in small cages – a tube inserted in their livers. Each day bile is sucked out of their livers causing the bears agonizing pain. Can you imagine such a horrendous life? No freedom – never to see the sun and grass – and kept in a filthy cage with a tube into your liver? Furthermore, there are many substitutes for bear bile in medicine so bile farming is totally unncessary. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWODyeO5wKU&feature=player_embedded to see the disgraceful way the bears are treated in China.
Apparently, 5000 tigers have been bred on farms in China in the hope that the ban on tiger bones and other tiger parts will be lifted and China can once again use these products in their medicine.
Although many countries in the world view the ivory trade with aborrhence and trading bans are in place throughout the world, certain countries in Africa which had a stockpile of ivory, lifted the ban recently, immediately precipitating a resurgence in elephant hunting. See my blog https://roslynmotter.com/2010/01/06/victory-for-lab-animals-sadness-for-elephants/ . It is reported that 37000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa for their ivory last year. This was to provide ivory for Chinese medicines and whatever else they do with it. They won’t be able to sell it on Ebay as they are no longer advertising products containing ivory.
The rhinosaurus has nearly been wiped out due to the Chinese demand for their horn.
Sea horses are also endangered because of their use in Chinese medicine.
It does appear that any animal that the Chinese set their sights on for food or medicine soon becomes endangered. For some strange reason they do not seem to realize that once these animals or fish are gone, they are gone forever. Please show your concern by never ordering shark fin soup in a restaurant, and make your feelings known. If you are buying Chinese herbal products study the list of ingredients to make sure there are no sea horses or bear bile in the ingredients. I have personally seen ivory chips in the drawers of a Chinese herbalist in Sydney in the last twenty years. And this is after ivory importation was banned.
Wild animals around the world are of course already under threat because of loss of territory. The panda bear in China is one of those animals endangered due to loss of habitat to farming and building. Their daily diet requires significant quantities of bamboo from plants spread over a large area and without the ability to move widely to eat, their numbers have dwindled to dangerously low levels. Recent earthquake activity in their area also had an impact and now there are just a handful left in the wild. In the past they were slaughtered with gay abandon for their furs. They are not particularly fertile animals and now they are on the verge of extinction everyone is suddenly appreciative of their beauty and there is a great push to save them. They have no value in Chinese medicine and the world loves them as a cute fluffy bear.In this regard they are luckier than the shark, which inspires fear more than engendering appreciation for its prehistoric beauty and formidable power. Or the elephant,sea horse, rhinosaurus, tiger and bear which are considered to be more beautiful in a bag of herbs or bottle of pills than they are running around free.
We are now at five minutes to midnight in terms of saving many species.
Dr Anish Andheria wrote in Dropped Hints in Sanctuary Magazine in April 2007 that his job is to work with a diversity of others to protect what survives of wild nature, until this task becomes the very purpose of life for the teeming millions who seem currently lost in false ambition. He was writing about protecting wildlife in India, but the same could well be said about China and the world.