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Endangered Tiger Ad

January 08, 1994

* I am writing to protest the irresponsible and sensationalized advertisement in your newspaper (Dec. 27) by the Endangered Species Project of Earth Island Institute.

The photo of a bound tiger shown in the ad was taken at Tainan in 1984. Since then, no incident of this kind has taken place in Taiwan due to strict laws governing wildlife protection. To publish an obviously outdated picture and to mention this rare case misleads your readers about the reality of wildlife concerns in Taiwan today.

In the past several years, the people and the government of the Republic of China have done a good job in heightening awareness on the importance of protecting endangered species. Importing and exporting tiger products are strictly banned by the ROC wildlife conservation laws. Moreover, these laws are rigorously enforced. Anyone caught dealing in endangered species faces a stiff fine and prison sentence. Taiwan has demonstrated its commitment to endangered species protection by publicly incinerating illegal wildlife products. These drastic measures are certainly not the actions of a country weak on wildlife protection.

The ROC on Taiwan is one of the leaders of wildlife protection in Asia. It works closely with international conservation groups such as the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Last year, Jorgan Thomsen of the Trade Records Analysis for Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC) even wrote a letter complimenting Taiwan on its efforts in controlling the trade of endangered species.

Tiger parts have long been considered by the Asian people to have healthful medical properties. We think the most effective way to change this cultural belief is through education. Therefore, environmental protection has become a main subject in our school curriculum. More importantly, most people on Taiwan have committed themselves to wildlife conservation for the sake of our future generations.

Surely, we need to absorb knowledge and experience from conservation organizations such as Earth Island Institute. However, a vicious attack on my country can only break the hearts of my people, who deserve appreciation for their efforts.

VICTOR CHANG, Acting Director

Information Division, Coordination Council

for North American Affairs Office

Los Angeles

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