UN Agency: Tiger on verge of extinction

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March 15, 2010 5:16:15 AM PDT
A top official with the United Nations wildlife agency says the world has "failed miserably" in protecting tigers in the wild.

Willem Wijnstekers, the secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, said Monday the tiger is on "the verge of extinction." Delegates discussed ways to end poaching and illegal trade in tiger products.

Just 20 years ago, there were 100,000 tigers in Asia. Only 3,200 remain in the wild, according to the U.N.

Tigers are poached for their skins and parts of their bodies are prized for decoration and traditional medicine.