More on Saving The Tiger with Market Forces
"The tiger, which is at the top of the food chain in its ecosystem, would be at the top of the economic ladder because of its market value. Among the results we can expect from breeding tigers to reduce poaching in the wild:
•The pressure on wild tigers will go down, attracting more tourists to sanctuaries to see this majestic animal in its natural setting.
•The sale of farmed tigers will reduce the incentive for smugglers to kill wild tigers.
•Scientists and wildlife managers will improve their breeding, management, and rehabilitation methods for tiger reintroduction; forest dwellers, who have detailed knowledge of their natural surroundings, will facilitate wildlife management.
•Rural populations will change their incentives. Villagers who are often lured by smugglers into killing a wild tiger for a few dollars, will now defend their new environmental assets, because a live tiger will be more profitable to them than a dead one.
•In addition to attracting tourists through reduced pressure on wildlife, the farms can attract sportsmen through selective allocation of hunting licenses.
•As trade and marketing channels develop for both consumptive and non-consumptive use of tigers, investment in better technologies and management practices will take place. National and international brands will appear. Tourism will increase.
The price of the tiger in the black market will collapse, and legal trade will thrive. Investment will improve the productivity of wildlife farms, and assured supply and low prices will take the pressure off the wild tigers, allowing their numbers to revive.
Nothing would help the tiger and the other resources of our forests more than giving forest dwellers a stake in the resources in their vicinity and the opportunity to make a profit from them. A legal framework for tiger breeding would help resolve the conflict between the people and animals that has contributed to the tiger’s drastic decline. Once people can profit from these resources, they will have the incentive to optimize the use of the resources. It is mostly forgotten that forest and wildlife, including tigers, are renewable.
Under such a framework, rather than being in conflict, humans and animals would both prosper. Commerce could be the most powerful ally of conservation."
~From Barun Mitra's article "Saving the Tiger" for PERC