Africa: China's Mixed Messages On Wildlife Trade Since Covid-19 1 year 2 months ago #62

The consumption of wildlife has been banned but many species are still threatened by traditional Chinese medicine.

The outbreak of COVID-19 and its global impact has thrust the illegal wildlife trade into the spotlight. With the origin of the disease linked to a meat market in Wuhan, China, the world was again reminded of the country's taste for wildlife, resulting in calls to end the illegal trade.

In a move that surprised many, China's Parliament made a decision in February 2020 to ban the consumption of wildlife and shut down meat markets. While conservationists were celebrating the news, the Chinese government upgraded pangolins' protection status to Class 1 - the highest level of protection, which pandas also fall under. Pangolin scales were also removed from the country's official list of ingredients approved for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

This is a major step forward in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, but comes with a notable caveat. Despite the ban on consuming wildlife, many species can still be used for other purposes, such as traditional medicine, ornaments and pets.
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