Showing video footage of a Leofoo Wild Animal Park staffer throwing stones at a pregnant tiger, animal rights activists yesterday called on Kaohsiung City Government to turn down two white tigers offered by a Chinese zoo to the city-owned Soushan Zoo and on Hsinchu County to block Leofoo from breeding the species.
“Tigers are listed as Appendix I animals in CITES [the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora] and should not be traded or bred for purposes other than research or education,” Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) told a press conference in Taipei.
CITES is an intergovernmental agreement to ensure that the trading of animals and plants does not hurt their prospects for survival.
Breeding white tigers has been condemned by most international conservation experts because the offspring are often genetically defective and die shortly after birth, she said.
Quoting Rob Laidlaw, the director of Canadian animal rights group Zoo Check, Chen said although white tigers “are popular exhibit animals, they serve no real conservation purposes ... [and] are usually the product of hybridization and inbreeding.”
White tigers are not albino tigers and have black stripes. Up to 80 percent of white tigers have serious genetic defects and die soon after birth; those that survive suffer from retinal degeneration, scoliosis of the spine, clubfoot, kidney abnormalities and immune deficiency and are often cross-eyed, she said.
Places like Guangzhou’s Xiangshan Zoo, which has offered the white tigers to Shoushan Zoo and is notorious as the “white tiger factory of the world,” with some 300 of the animals, breed the tigers “mostly to generate revenue for zoos,” she said.
Chen said that while the Leofoo park is privately owned and trying to attract more visitors, Shoushan Zoo should not stoop to the same level by arguing they should import the tigers “to compete with the flow of tourists attracted by the pandas to Taipei.”
“The zoos are objectifying animals in the name of research and education,” she said.
Chen said Xiangshan Zoo had white tiger circus shows daily, which included making tigers jump through rings of fire.
Chen also showed journalists a video obtained by EAST staff last week that caught a Leofoo zookeeper throwing rocks and sticks at a pregnant female Bengal tiger to force it into its cage after the park had closed for the day.
“Leofoo zoo kept two female Bengal tigers in the same cage as a male white tiger for years and the last time we went, we found that one of the females may be pregnant ... We confirmed the pregnancy with the veterinarian later,” she said.
The Hsinchu County Government has approved Leofoo’s breeding of the animals, she said.
Chen also urged the Hsinchu County Government to ban Leofoo from breeding the tigers because “it is against the principle of animal conservation.”
“Zoo tigers are overpopulated already and if released into the wild, zoo animals do not survive. [Meanwhile,] the number of tigers in the wild is decreasing,” she said.
The organization also urged the public to write to Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) to protest the import of the tigers from China.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group might have lost its right to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to fulfill a contract in Taiwan, civic groups Taiwan Citizen Front and the Economic Democracy Union said yesterday. In a radio interview on Feb. 17, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, said that last year, Taiwan was close to signing a contract to buy doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but that the deal was halted at the last moment, with some speculating that Chinese interference was to blame. On Monday last week, the center