Exotic animals have been the victims of illegal wildlife trade all over the world. Southeast Asia has been cited where most illegal activities in regards to animals take place. Animals are bred in captivity to be sold on the black market for their horns, tusks, paws, skins, and scales to name a few for medicinal and decoration purposes.
About a decade ago, a 12-square-mile plot situated in the northern Bokeo Province has been developed. The place has been known as the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone and can be found across Thailand's Mekong River. A Hong Kong-based company inked an agreement to rent the place with the Laotian government in order to develop it.
Chinese citizens are the major owners, staff, and clients of the establishment that became a duty-free complex which offers rare vices not found in their hometowns. Additionally, Chinese and other patrons may find here exotic animal merchandise including products derived from tigers.
According to conservationists, the complex which includes a zoo is a matter of fact a farm to raise animals intended for slaughter. These animals which are usually raised and bred in captivity are used in the illegal animal trade where tigers are being exchanged. This practice is much the same in Thailand where animals are illicitly mutilated for their meat, bones, and other parts which are believed to have medicinal properties.
The Kings Romans Group runs the casino and different businesses including hotels, ring for both cock fighting and bull fighting. The huge duty-free complex also houses a shopping center just like in Chinatown and a zoo where the tigers are kept as reported by The New York Times.
"Farming tigers for trade confuses consumers and stimulates demand," said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "The increased market demand for tiger parts also fuels poaching of tigers in the wild, because wildlife consumers prefer animals caught in the wild."
For some time now, the Kings Romans' 'large complex have few tourists visiting the site. However, restaurants still offer expensive exotic menus consisting of bear paws, pangolin, and sautéed meat of tiger which could cost $45 a plate. These bizarre foods are often matched with tiger wine which is a combination of the felines' sex organs, bones or the whole skeletons saturated for many months.
Tigers are not the only animals which parts are being eaten or drunk. A recent report exposes that Chinese farms kept approximately 10,000 bears legally for their bile. Bear bile is a component used in traditional medicine and is gathered using a tube which is implanted in the bear's gall bladders or across a hole in their guts.
As of now, about a third from the 285 bears has been saved from bile farms and now lives at a rehabilitation center. Non-profit group, Animals Asia adopted the animals some of which have lost their limbs, an indication of being caught in traps in the wild.