China softens tiger bone and rhino horn ban
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has expressed concern over China’s announcement that it has legalised the use of tiger bone and rhino horn from captive-bred animals by hospitals and domestic trade. A TimesLIVE report quotes Margaret Kinnaird, WWF wildlife practice leader, who said: ‘It is deeply concerning that China has reversed its 25-year-old tiger bone and rhino horn ban‚ allowing a trade that will have devastating consequences globally.’ ‘Trade in tiger bone and rhino horn was banned in 1993. The resumption of a legal market for these products is an enormous setback to efforts to protect tigers and rhinos in the wild,’ she went on to say. WWF is calling on China to maintain the ban on tiger bone and rhino horn trade‚ which they say has been critical in conserving these species. ‘Even if restricted to antiques and use in hospitals‚ this trade would increase confusion by consumers and law enforcers as to which products are and are not legal‚ and would likely expand the markets for other tiger and rhino products‚’ Kinnaird said. ‘This decision seems to contradict the leadership China has shown recently in tackling the illegal wildlife trade‚ including the closure of their domestic ivory market‚ a game changer for elephants warmly welcomed by the global community,’ she noted.