December 29, 2009--
Tourists feed tigers
at the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Park, a private zoo in Guillin, China
, in an undated photograph.
Many such tourist attractions secretly operate as fronts for illegal tiger farming, butchering captive tigers for their parts, National Geographic
magazine reports in the January 2010 story "Asia's Wildlife Trade."
On the eve of 2010--the Year of the Tiger in Chinese astrology--the big cats remain highly coveted. A dead adult male can sell for U.S. $10,000 or more on the black market. Tiger bones and penises are often used in traditional medicines, and some restaurants serve tiger meat, including, a recent DNA test suggests, the restaurant at Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Park, according to the National Geographic magazine article.
Photograph by Mark Leong