Patterns of illegal and legal tiger parts entering the United States over a decade (2003–2012)

by | Jan 18, 2022 | Tiger Conservation, Wildlife Crime | 2 comments

We would like to proudly share an article from a fellow tiger warrior Sarika Khanwilkar. The picture that goes with this article was taken by one of the authors of this blog, Allison Skidmore, and shows a tiger cub that was trafficked over the US-Mexican border.


Poaching and illegal trade are primary threats to tigers (Panthera tigris). Trade in tiger parts has been well documented in Asia. However, little is known about tiger parts entering the United States (US). We analyzed seizures of tiger parts trafficked through US ports of entry from 2003 to 2012 along with shipments that had been issued legal Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species import permits. We found 292 seizure incidents and 283 permitted imports over that 10-year period. The amount of tiger parts trafficked into the US illegally was larger than what has been previously reported. Most tiger parts entered the US legally and illegally for personal purposes; 81.8% of seized items were medicinal products. San Francisco, Dallas, and Atlanta were entry hotspots for illegal tiger imports which mainly entered the United States from China and Vietnam. Of the 65.8% of seized parts with a known origin, 99.5% originated from wild tigers. Since country of origin and source of many legally and illegally traded tiger parts was unknown, we recommend the use of forensic DNA analysis to address these knowledge gaps to focus conservation and enforcement efforts. Research should continue in the United States to adequately capture the global supply, demand, and trade of tiger parts.

Link to paper:

Tiger bone wine sold in San Francisco




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