Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

China reverses 25-year ban on rhino horn, tiger bone trade

Siberian tiger crouches on top of a tourist bus at a branch of Harbin Siberian Tigers Breeding Center in Shenyang in northeast China's Liaoning province. China says it will allow trading in products made from enda China reverses ban on wildlife body parts for medical and cultural use
Kenny Thornton | 01 November, 2018, 13:59

China's State Council issued a notice replacing its 1993 ban on the trade of tiger bones and rhino horn.

The move came to light a day after WWF had recently tweeted that about 60 per cent of the animals on the Earth has been wiped out by humans.

"Except in special circumstances prescribed by law, the country bans all actions involving sales, purchase, use and import or export of rhinoceros, tigers and their related products, including the whole body, parts of it or any derived products", reads the official statement.

Rhino and tiger parts are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine.

This allows rhino horn and the bones of tigers bred in captivity to be used "for medical research or clinical treatment of critical illnesses".

Studies put the population of wild rhinos at less than 30,000, while poaching is reducing that number drastically each year.

Tourism and cultural heritage authorities will also have to sign off on any rhino and tiger products that are used for "temporary cultural exchange".

Tanya Sanerib, global legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement, "China's rhino and tiger decision is a huge step backwards for these animals, which are already on the brink of extinction".

The ban has been in existence for 25 years.

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While China's state council says rhino horns and tiger bones used for research and healing "can only be obtained from farmed rhinos and tigers", conservationists argue that it will be hard to determine the source of the animal parts.

China will allow the "strictly controlled" sale and use of rhino and tiger products for medical, scientific and cultural purposes, the country's State Council said Monday in a statement.

Conservation group World Wildlife Fund said the policy would have adverse effects in protecting the animals.

Despite a lack of scientific evidence, demand for rhino horn and tiger bone is partly driven by their supposed health benefits, from curing cancer to boosting virility.

China has also improved its "law enforcement mechanism" and plans to step up efforts to crack down on illegal wildlife trade, Lu told reporters. Only doctors certified by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine would be allowed to administer the medicines. "With wild tiger and rhino populations at such low levels and facing numerous threats, legalised trade in their parts is simply too great a..."

An estimated 3,890 tigers remain alive in the wild, according to a report presented during the Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation in 2016.

Iris Ho, senior specialist for Wildlife Program and Policy at Humane Society International, said in a statement the announcement by Beijing was a "death warrant" for rhinos and tigers in the wild.

"This is a devastating blow to our ongoing work to save species from cruel exploitation and extinction, and we implore the Chinese government to reconsider".

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