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2018-11-19. The Key to Stopping the Illegal Wildlife Trade: China.

posted Nov 22, 2018, 10:40 AM by Alan Gould
By Rachel Nuwer, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/19/science/wildlife-trafficking-china.html] For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 8. Excerpt: Many of the creatures that share this planet with us may not be around much longer. Since 1970, populations of thousands of animal species around the world have declined 60 percent on average, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Habitat destruction, climate change and pollution are all driving those losses. But so is the global illegal trade in wildlife. For species like tigers and rhinos, poaching is a primary threat to survival. ...any solutions for tackling illegal wildlife trade are unlikely to work without the involvement of one major player: China. From ivory to pangolin scales, totoaba bladders to shark fins, the country has a ravenous appetite for wildlife products. As China’s economy and population have grown, so, too, has demand for animals and their parts, which are sought worldwide: in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America and the world’s oceans. “A lot of the species that are most threatened on Earth right now are threatened because of demand in China,” said Chris Shepherd, executive director of Monitor, a nonprofit group that works to reduce illegal wildlife trade. “China has to become a leader in fighting illegal wildlife trade, or else it’s not going to be a pretty future.” ...To the shock of officials and conservationists around the world, China announced last month that it would reopen the trade in rhino horn and tiger bone, reversing a 25-year domestic ban....