Tuesday, 11 September 2007

TRAFFIC reveals the state of China’s wildlife trade

TRAFFIC reveals the state of China’s wildlife trade

TRAFFIC - September 6, 2007
Beijing, China

TRAFFIC has published a snapshot of the state of wildlife trade in China in 2006. The report, in English and Chinese, is the first in an annual series on emerging trends in China’s wildlife trade, and provides up-to-date reviews of work being carried out to prevent illegal and support sustainable trade in China.

“The State of Wildlife Trade in China provides an overview of wildlife trade over the past year and examines what impact China’s consumption is having on globally important biodiversity ‘hotspots’, and what emerging trends there are in wildlife trade,” said Dr Xu Hongfa, Director of TRAFFIC’s China Programme.

The lead story is on the illegal trade in Tigers and other Asian big cats, whose bones are in demand for traditional medicines and whose skins are sought after for costumes and decorations.

China has been at the forefront of efforts to control this illegal trade, thanks to a complete trade ban, implemented in 1993.

In 2006, TRAFFIC surveys found little Tiger bone available in China, with less than 3% of 663 medicine shops and dealers in 26 Chinese cities claiming to stock it. But several businesses operating Tiger farms in China have petitioned China’s government to ease its trade ban and allow domestic trade in medicines made from farmed Tiger.

Another key article examines trade in live reef fish through Hong Kong and southern China, the world’s largest importers of such fish. The majority are caught in the tropical reefs of the “Coral Triangle,” bordered by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and include species such as Humphead wrasse, which is listed in CITES Appendix II, and requires special permits for any trade.

The dramatic increase in China’s wood imports over the last decade, largely driven by the country’s rapid economic growth is also examined.

During 2006, efforts to help buyers of timber and timber products in China avoid wood and wood products from illegally sourced timber have continued, including the development of standards for timber sourcing, TRAFFIC’s publication of the Chinese-language Identification Manual for Timber Imported from the Russian Far East.

The future of China’s yew tree (genus Taxus) comes under scrutiny. Across Asia, these species are under threat from the unsustainable harvest of bark and needles for the production of anti-cancer medicines. China now relies on Taxus imports, mainly from Canada, Myanmar and North Korea, and the future of the industry is tied to successful development of Taxus plantations.

Other articles examine the pangolin trade in China through a review of recent seizures, the on-going challenges presented by the illegal elephant ivory trade, the China Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network—established in 2006, China’s international collaboration to keep wildlife trade legal and sustainable through initiatives such as ASEAN-WEN, development of China’s conservation community and TRAFFIC East Asia’s conservation awareness initiative in partnership with Ogilvy (China).

The report State of Wildlife Trade in China: Information on the trade in wild animals and plants in China 2006 is available herehttp://www.traffic.org/content/1014.pdf
(PDF, 1.8 MB). Its production was generously funded by WWF-Netherlands.

For more information, please contact teachina@wwfchina.org