A tragic beginning to the Year Of The Tiger, as a secret trade in tiger bone wine at the Northeast China Tiger Park was confirmed today. Park officials sold the tiger bone wine, used as a tonic to boost virility and strengthen bones, for 780 yuan (US$114) for every 500 grams. According to a park staff member, the 780 yuan is quite the steal as the good stuff will fetch 2,800 yuan per bottle and contains a piece of genuine tiger bone.
This news comes off the heels of reports of the starvation deaths of 13 Siberian tigers at Shenyang Forest Wild Animals Zoo in Northeast China between December and February. Additional reports indicate that the dead animals may have been used to produce the tiger bone liquor.
In 1993 China banned all trade in tiger bones and parts but recent investigations have found an increase in the illegal sale of products claiming to contain tiger parts.
Roughly 20 Siberian tigers are believed to be left in the wild. The South China tiger is said to be extinct.