Not Just China US Under Fire For Tiger Trade

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Conservationists appealed Wednesday for an end to the commercial tiger trade, warning that demand in China, Southeast Asia — but also the United States — was threatening the big cats with extinction.Environmental campaigners see 2010 as crucial to spread their message as East Asian nations celebrate the Year of the Tiger and Russia prepares to hold a summit on tiger conservation in September in Vladivostok.

Only some 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, nearly half of them in India, down from 100,000 worldwide a century ago due to burgeoning human populations and a demand in China, Vietnam and Laos for tiger parts in folk medicine.But environmental campaigners said the problem was not just in Asia. They worried about the United States, where more than 5,000 tigers are believed to be in private hands as backyard pets or roadside zoo attractions.
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