At any given time, Elephant Action League (EAL) has investigators deployed in various countries, primarily wildlife hot spots, researching and gathering intelligence on trafficking and trade in wildlife products. Although EAL publishes full public reports at the conclusion of each investigation, it is important to highlight certain findings during the investigation for the benefit of other organizations working on similar issues.
EAL’s investigators, currently researching and investigating another subject in China, also conducted a quick market assessment on the sale of tiger teeth in Guangzhou and Shanghai. According to insiders, demand for tiger teeth and other tiger products is stable and, in some locations, possibly growing.
In Guangzhou, we visited the traditional Chinese medicine markets, but it was not easy to find tiger teeth. Dealers denied having tiger products even when asked. A few tiger teeth were for sale in the larger retail markets, primarily pendants and generally no more than one for sale per retailer. The investigators did find a large number of less expensive and presumably fake tiger products in these shops, where the vendors indicated that it is very difficult to acquire the real thing.
In Shanghai, people still buy tiger teeth but generally do it through trusted circles of collectors rather than in public markets. The product is expensive and trust is extremely important for both buyers and sellers. Like Guangzhou, many fake tiger teeth, from various other animals including dogs, are available in public markets.
Fake tiger teeth were selling at about 300 Yuan (USD 40), while real tiger teeth run anywhere from 3,000 Yuan (USD 430) to 150,000 Yuan (USD 21,000) depending on size and quality. EAL’s investigators were somewhat surprised at the stability of demand and high prices for tiger teeth.