The 10/16/2006 issue of business week had an interesting news blurb on a proposal to save wild tigers - of which only 5,000 remain.
The primary tiger predator is the human poacher who sells to a high demand market looking for foods, decorations and even aphrodesiacs.
The good folk at the Property & Environment Research Center of Bozeman, MT along with the Liberty Institute of New Delhi advocate commeecial wildlife farms.
The World Wildlife Fund Strongly opposes the concept charging that poached product would be too easily disguised as legitimate product.
Quite frankly I find the WWF's oppinion rigid and uncreative. 5000 is a very small number. Local government preservation resources are extremely limited and clearly not enough. It's possible that commercial farms might be the only possible means of preserving the species.
Tiger count is far too low to embrace romantic notions that the animal is too noble to be farmed - or vegetarian notions that animals should not be eaten (last I checked Vegetarianism was a personal choice - not public policy). Many cultures, especially within India and China consider tiger products legitimate foods and medicines. Is it enough for the WWF to save an animal or attack Eastern culture.
The WWF needs to learn the power of Aikido and use market forces to it's favor - it cannot beat the market.
Now some quick PF questions:
1 would you eat a tiger meat product?
2 would you wear a tiger skin product?
3 would you invest in a tiger farm?