A tiger


The ruthless business of tiger traders in Europe


The Legal Trade

Research by FOUR PAWS revealed that tiger traders operating in Europe can easily sell captive bred tigers to Asian countries where the demand for tiger parts for traditional medicine is widespread. Further enquiries also reveal how the legal trade facilitates illegal trade with tiger ending up in hands of convicted wildlife traffickers.

Top 5 of EU member states exporting live tigers:

1. Italy294
2. France214
3. Germany193
4. Czech Republic84
5. Spain79

Exports of live tigers to Asia

1. China67
2. Vietnam31
3. Cambodia24
4. Thailand19
5. Malaysia3

The Illegal trade

The killing of tigers for traditional medicine and the trade of tiger products is not only an issue in Asia but also here in Europe. Between 1999 and 2017, 8,278 illegal tiger products, such as tiger bouillon cubes, teeth and claws, and 57 illegal live tigers were confiscated in the EU. All seizures are assumed to represent 10 % of what is smuggled so these official numbers only show the tip of the iceberg.

Top 5 EU member states regarding number of seized LIVE TIGERS:

1. France8 seizures18 tigers
2. Italy6 seizures13 tigers
3. Belgium4 seizures11 tigers
4. Slovakia2 seizures8 tigers
5. Spain7 seizures7 tigers

Top 5 EU member states regarding number of seized TIGER PRODUCTS:

1. Denmark16 seizures2 688 products
2. The Netherlands51 seizures1 784 products
3. UK93 seizures952 products
4. Germany36 seizures892 products
5. Czech Republic4 seizures804 products

Most Europeans support an EU tiger trade ban, survey shows

The world already lost over 90 per cent of its tigers. With only 3,900 animals left in the wild, 91 % of EU citizens want to see a ban of trade in captive bred tigers.

  • 47% It should be banned completely
  • 44% It should be banned with the exception of conservation breeding programmes run by legitimate zoos
  • 4% It should remain legal
  • 5% Don’t know / No answer


This survey was conducted via an Internet Omnibus survey Fieldwork: 2nd - 6th August 2018​ Population: General population, 16-64 years old Countries: Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom Number of respondents: 7,223

Without proper management and control over the tiger trade business, cases of cruelty against these majestic wild animals will only increase. Tigers will continue to be killed and used as ingredients in traditional ‘medicine’. They will continue to live a captive life as entertainment props for commercial gain. And the very few tigers left in the wild will stay at high risk of being poached for quick money.  

Please help us to ban commercial tiger trade! 

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Tiger behind bars


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