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Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Himalayan Region of China

Authors:
  • Institute of Zoology CAS

Abstract

The Himalayan region of China, with its rich biodiversity, used to be important for hunting and collecting of medicinal plants. In the past decades, conservation attitudes and legislation for wildlife conservation have developed rapidly in China. Increasing numbers of species are listed in the state protection list and local protection lists. In the Himalayan region, the area of natural reserves is high accounting for 70% of total area of natural reserves in China. However, wildlife in Himalayan region is suffering from illegal hunting and trade even after China has enforced the China Wildlife Protection Law (CWPL). The illegal wildlife trade and smuggling across Sino-neighbouring country borders and illegal wildlife trade related to domestic use flourish in the region. Although domestic illegal trade has declined in the past ten years, international illegal trade and smuggling continue, and are even expanding, thereby threatening survival of many endangered species such as the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsoni), Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug). Illegal wildlife trade in the region is attributed to four factors. First, the CWPL is still imperfect, especially concerning illegal trade and smuggling across borders. Second, CWPL is not fully enforced. Third, infrastructure in many nature reserves is undeveloped and human resources are lacking. Fourth, protection is hampered by differences in the laws of neighbouring countries, differences in penalties and in degrees of protection. Furthermore, national legislation is often not fully enforced in areas that are inhabited mainly by tribal and minority communities.
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Title Illegal wildlife trade in the Himalayan region of China
Author(s) Li, Y.; Gao, Z.; Li, X.; Wang, S.; Niemelä, J.
Citation Li, Y. et al. 2000. Illegal wildlife trade in the Himalayan
region of China. Biodiversity and Conservation 9: 901–918.
Date 2000
URL http://hdl.handle.net/1975/218
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Biodiversity and Conservation 9: 901–918, 2000.
© 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Illegal wildlife trade in the Himalayan region of China
LI YI-MING1,, GAO ZENXIANG1, LI XINHAI1, WANG SUNG2
and JARI NIEMELÄ3
1Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19 Zhongguancun Lu, Haidian, Beijing 100080,
China; 2China Endangered Species Scientific Commission, 19 Zhongguancun Lu, Haidian, Beijing
100080, China; 3Department of Ecology and Systematics, P.O. Box 17,FIN-00014 University of Helsinki,
Finland; Author for correspondence (e-mail: liym@panda.ioz.ac.cn)
Received 16 April 1999; accepted in revised form 20 November 1999
Abstract. The Himalayan region of China, with its rich biodiversity, used to be important for hunting
and collecting of medicinal plants. In the past decades, conservation attitudes and legislation for wild-
life conservation have developed rapidly in China. Increasing numbers of species are listed in the state
protection list and local protection lists. In the Himalayan region, the area of natural reserves is high
accounting for 70% of total area of natural reserves in China. However, wildlife in Himalayan region is
suffering from illegal hunting and trade even after China has enforced the China Wildlife Protection Law
(CWPL). The illegal wildlife trade and smuggling across Sino-neighbouring country borders and illegal
wildlife trade related to domestic use flourish in the region. Although domestic illegal trade has declined
in the past ten years, international illegal trade and smuggling continue, and are even expanding, thereby
threatening survival of many endangered species such as the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsoni),
Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug). Illegal wildlife trade in the
region is attributed to four factors. First, the CWPL is still imperfect, especially concerning illegal trade
and smuggling across borders. Second, CWPL is not fully enforced. Third, infrastructure in many nature
reserves is undeveloped and human resources are lacking. Fourth, protection is hampered by differences
in the laws of neighbouring countries, differences in penalties and in degrees of protection. Furthermore,
national legislation is often not fully enforced in areas that are inhabited mainly by tribal and minority
communities.
Key words: biodiversity, CITES, Giant panda, Himalayan region, illegal wildlife trade, legislation, Saker
Falcon
Introduction
The Himalayan region in China including Tibet (Xizang), Qinghai, part of Gansu,
Yunnan, Sichuan and Xinjiang province is a vast area of about 2.5 million km2, one
fourth of China’s total land area with a population of only about 13 million. Because
of its special geological and climatic conditions ranging from humid tropical forests
to alpine and arid areas, this region is rich in biodiversity. Endemic fauna is especially
diverse (Feng and Cai 1986; Zheng et al. 1983; Peng 1995).
While rich in biodiversity, the Himalayan region in China is a relatively less
developed area where local people have traditionally exploited natural resources
sustainably for thousands of years, and where cultural diversity has promoted the
902
use of these resources in a diverse way. Wildlife and wildlife products continue to be
important in local peoples’ lives. Both Tibetan Medicines (TM) and the Traditional
Chinese Medicines (TCM) have been used for a very long time and are still widely
used.
The area has also served as an important link along the ‘silk route’ for thousands
of years. Two thousand years ago, goods from China, including silk, furs and med-
icines were exported to Pakistan, India, Italy and the other Mediterranean countries
(Sheng 1985; Li 1991). In return, goods including ivory, rhinoceros horn, pearls, cor-
al, rare animals and other articles were transported to China. Already by the West Han
Dynasty (206 BC–25 AD), this trade existed betweenChina and the Himalayan coun-
tries, and the trade flourished during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). Besides
ivory, rhinoceros horn, pearls and musk, some rare animals were imported to China.
For example, the King of Bangladesh gave the ruler of China a giraffe as a gift.
This was the first recorded giraffe in China (Sheng 1985). Furthermore, medicinal
materials and wildlife were traded on a regular basis already in 100 AD along the
trade route from the southernprovince of Yunnan in China to Burma and on to India
(OuYang 1993). Since 600 AD, Tibet has had a thriving trade in furs and medicines
across borders with Nepal, Bhutan and India (Xiao et al. 1993). Forinstance, in 1927,
India exported furs to a value ofabout 1.2 million rupees equalling ca. 5% of the total
trade value between India and Xinjiang, China (Liu et al. 1987).
Although trade in wildlife has a long history in the Himalayan region, it is now
threatening the survival of many species, and the sustainable use of wildlife
resources in the region. Illegal wildlife trade is a concern across the world (Wang
and Li 1998; Martin 1997; Wright and Kumar 1997), but it is difficult to study and
thus little is known about it. This paper provides an insight into the illegal wild-
life trade in the Himalayan region. We first review the development of regulations
regarding wildlife trade in China and in the Himalayan region. We then examine
the current conservation status of fauna in the region, and discuss the dynamics of
illegal wildlife trade. We will especially focus on illegal trade related to smuggling
abroad.
Development of wildlife trade regulationsin China and the Himalayan region
Chinese laws related to wildlife conservation originate from ancient times. Already
during the Xia dynasty (2100–1700 BC) laws banned hunting of wildlife in particular
times of the year (Zhang 1992). The Xizhou dynasty (1100–770 BC) had banned
harvesting of young mammals and bird eggs. During the Qing dynasty (200 BC)
‘Laws for Fields’ prohibited hunting young mammals and birds, and collecting bird
eggs from February to June (Fan and Song 1998). Since the Qing Dynasty, almost
all of the dynasties had articles related to wildlife conservation in their legislation
(Zhang 1992).
903
The modern norms and laws for wildlife conservation in China were established
very late. The first nature reserve in China, Dinghushan Nature Reserve in Guangdong
province in southern China, was established in 1956. On the other hand, some local
governments encouraged peopleto hunt wildlife in the 1950s (Shou 1957). Between
1950s and early 1980s, state-owned enterprises were in charge of wildlife hunting. A
great quantity of live wildlife and skins was exported to Hong Kong, and via Hong
Kong to other countries (Wang and Li 1998; Li and Li 1997a).
To improve the management of hunting, the Chinese Government issued an in-
struction ‘strengthening wildlife resource conservation, encouraging breeding and
rational use of wildlife’ in 1958 establishing consciousness for wildlife conservation
in China (Liyu 1987). However, the instruction urged the active development of the
hunting industry (Zu 1959), and therefore it is no surprise that the instruction did little
to slow the exploitation of wildlife resources. From 1960s to the early 1980s hunting
wildlife was legal. For example, China exported on average 20 million skins of wild
mammals annually between 1950s–1980s, earning US$ 10 million each year (CWE
1989). The animals hunted included threatened species. For instance, from 1950 to
1979, at least 96 Amur Tigers (Panthera tigris) were killed in Helongjiang province,
and at least 24 Amur Tigers were killed between 1967 and 1978 in Jiling province
(Li Y-M, unpublished data). Even in reserves, hunting of rare and endangered
animals often took place.
The Himalayan region was an important exporter of wildlife and wildlife prod-
ucts (Wang and Li 1998). Between 1950 and 1985, 46 species of mammals were
commonly hunted for skin export. In Qinghai province, about 3.1 million skins of
the Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota), about 1.4 million skins of other animals and
about 332 000 pairs of wild birds were purchased for export in 1965–1984(Northwest
Plateau Institute of Biology 1990). Furthermore, for medicinal use,18 607 kg of deer
pilose antlers and 1218 kg of musk were purchased. Until the 1980s, most wildlife
resources for export were over-exploitedin China (Li and Li 1997a).
In China, the legislation for wildlife conservation developed rapidly after 1980.
A legislative reform was carried out in 1978 after which business in wildlife and
its products entered a transitional period from the planned economy to the market
economy. Today private companies are playing an increasingly significant role in
wildlife hunting and manufacturing of wildlife products (Li and Li 1996) which is a
new threat to wildlife in China. In 1983, the Chinese Government issued a general
order for ‘tightly conserving precious and rare wild animals’, showing that the Gov-
ernment of China is beginning to pay attention to wildlife conservation. The same
year, the Ministry of Forestry, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry
and Fishery drafted ‘regulations on wildlife resource management’ which was an
embryonic form of the ‘Wildlife Protection Laws of China’. Also in 1983, the China
Wildlife Protection Association was founded to distribute information about wildlife
conservation and to educate people. In addition, the first wildlife conservation orga-
nization related to the Himalayan region in China – Northwest China Five Provinces
904
Wildlife Conservation Committee – was established in 1983 to coordinate wildlife
conservation developmentin the provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Shanxi and
Ninxia.
In spite of these new regulations and associations, smuggling in wildlife and wild-
life products had increased by mid-1980s. Even skins of the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda
melanoleuca) were smuggled abroad, which prompted attention from the Chinese
government, and speeded establishment of legislation for wildlife conservation in
China. The highest court of China informed the standard of penal discretion for cases
related to the Giant Panda in 1987. In 1988, National People Council issued stan-
dard of penal discretion for cases involving illegal hunting and illegal trade in wild-
life. These two standards became an important foundation of legislation for wildlife
conservation.
The first legislation for wildlife conservation – China Wildlife Protection Law
(CWPL) – was promulgated in November of 1988 and enforced on 1 March 1989.
A state protection list (SPL) was included in the CWPL. The two annexes entitled
Animals under State’s Special Protection (ASSP)’ include 96 species (Appendix I
(also called Category I)) and 161 species (Appendix II (also called Category II)).
The CWPL states that wildlife resources belong to the state’, and ‘prohibits hunting,
selling, purchasing and transportingASSP and their products’, and that ‘anyone who
wishing to catch, tame, sell, transport, import or export ASSP or its products due to
a special reason must have a permit issued by the state or provinces’. For instance,
hunters must have hunting permits issued by the local government, and there is a
hunting quota for species. To enforce the CWPL effectively, the Chinese Government
issued the ‘regulations on terrestrial wildlife protection enforcement’, ‘regulations on
aquatic wildlife protection enforcement’and ‘regulations on natural reserves’ in 1992
and 1994.
Chinese legislation related to wildlife conservation has developed fast during the
1980s and the early 1990s. Legislation related to wildlife habitat conservation such as
‘land management laws’, ‘forestry laws’ and ‘rangeland laws’ were enforced in 1984,
1985 and 1986, respectively. The legislation related to wildlife use such as ‘fishery
laws’, ‘regulations on wild medicine material resource management’ and ‘animal and
plant quarantine laws’ were enforced in 1986, 1987 and 1992, respectively.
Internationally,China became a member of CITES in 1981. The same year China
and Japan signed a convention on conserving migratory birds and their habitats. Chi-
na signed a similar convention with Australia in 1989. China signed the RAMSAR
Convention and Biodiversity Conventionin 1992. Theseconventions play an impor-
tant role in conserving wildlife in China and the world, and they also contribute to
regulatory development and have become important complementary regulations for
CWPL.
In accordance with the CWPL and the conventions, most provinces in China is-
sued their wildlife protection regulations and province wildlife protection lists. In the
Himalayan region, Sichuan, Tibet and Gansu issued their provincial lists. The number
905
of protected animals including specieslisted as ASSP, appendix I and II of CITES and
province protection list consist of 231 species in the Himalayan region (Table 1).
Numbers of protected areas, reflecting conservation concerns in China, increased
slowly before 1978. In 1965, China only had 19 natural reserves, of which three
were for conservation of the Giant panda in the Himalayan region. The area of the
three reserves accounted for only 0.03% of the total area of the Himalayan region,
lower than that of the area of Chinese reservesin total (0.07%). The number and area
of natural reserves have increased considerably after 1978. In 1995, the Himalayan
region had 68 natural reserves, covering 20% of the region; a proportion three times
higher than that in the rest of China. About 70% of the area of natural reserves in
China is in the Himalayan region.Thissuggests that nature reservesin the region are
the main body of natural reserves in China. The conservation status of the natural
reserves in the region probably determines the success or failure of conservation in
China.
Illegal wildlife trade across Sino-neighbouring country borders
in the Himalayan region
There is illegal wildlife trade across the Sino-Burma, Sino-Nepal, Sino-India and
Sino-Pakistan borders. Individuals and products of eleven species of mammals, at
least seven species of birds and at least six species of reptiles were confiscated at the
Sino-Burma border and at domestic Yunnan borders in China in 1994–1995 (Table 2).
These include 11 species listed in AppendixI and II of CITES, and 10 species listed
in the state protection list. Obviously, the number of species and volume of trade is
much higher than those confiscated, but it is difficult to estimate how much higher.
Tiger-based products from Burma were confiscated on the Chinese border twice
during 1994–1995 suggesting that these products are actively traded across the Sino-
Burma border (Table 2). Furthermore, rhino horns have been traded across Sino-Bur-
ma border, but the volume is unknown. Only a small part of the species traded stays
in the border zone: most is transported to other cities in Yunnan and other provinces
of China.
The traded species and wildlife productsare used for food, medicines and pets. For
instance, Hill Mynas (Gracula religiosa) are traded for pets in China, and especially
in the Indo-Malayan region the volume of trade of Hill Mynas is high (Nash 1993).
The illegal trade across the Sino-Nepal and Sino-India border is active. The wool
(Shahtoosh) of the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsoni) is involved in the trade.
For example, in the summer of 1997 the Ali custom point in Tibet at the border
between China and India seized 684.5 kg of Shatoosh equalling the weight of wool
of six thousand Tibetan antelopes (Zhang 1997).Furthermore, it is believed that Saker
Falcons are illegally traded across Sino-Pakistan border, but no data are available.
906
Table 1. The conservation status of wildlife in Himalayan region in China. Status: 1 = species on
Category 1 of SPL; 2 = species on Category 2 of SPL; I = species on Appendix I of CITES; II = species on
appendix of CITES; 3 = species on Tibet protection list; 4 = species on Sichuan protection; 5 =
species on Gansu protection list.
Scientific name status Scientific name status Scientific name status
Mammalia Neofelis nebulosa 1, I Athene noctua 2, II
Aeretes melanopterus 4Nyctereutes procyonoides 5Bambusicola fitchii 4
Ailuropoda melanoleuca 1,I Otocolobus manul 2Bonasa swerzowi 1
Ailurus fulgens 2, I Ovis ammon 2, I Botaurus stellaris 4
Aonyx cinerea 2, II Paguma larvata 5Bubo bubo 2, II
Bos gaurus 3Panthera pardus 1, I Buceros bicornis 2, II
B. gunniens 1, I P. tigris 1, I Butastur teesa 2, II
Budorcas taxicolor 1Pantholops hodgsoni 1, I Buteo buteo 2, II
Capra sibirica 1, I Paradoxurus hermaphroditus 4B. hemilasius 2, II
Capreolus capreolus 5Petaurista petaurista 4B. rufinus 2, II
Capricornis sumatraensis 2, I Presbytis entellus 1, I Butorides striatus 4
Catopuma temmincki 2, I P. geei 1, I Cacomantis. merulinus 4
Cervus albirostris 1Prionailurus bengalensis 3, 4, I C. sonneratii 4
C. elaphus 2, I Prionodon pardicolor 2Caprimulgus indicus 4
C. unicolor 2Procapra prze picticaudata 2Chrysolophus amherstiae 2
Cuon alpinus 2, II P. wal s kii 1C. pictus 3
Elaphodus cephalophus 3, 4, 5 Pseudois nayaur 2, I Ciconia ciconia 1, I
Equus kiang 1P. schaeferi 3, 4 C. nigra 1, II
Felis bieti 2, II Pygathrix bieti 1, II Circus aeruginosus 2, II
F. chaus 2, II P. roxellana 1, II C. cyaneus 2, II
Gazella subguttarosa 2Rhinoceros unicornis 3, I C. macrourus 2, II
Helarctos malayanus 1, I Uncia uncia 1, I Clamator cormandus 4
Hemitragus jemlahicus 1Ursus arctos 2, II Columba leuconota 5
Hylobates hoolock 1, I U. thibetanus 2, I Corvus corax 5
Lutra lutra 2, I Viverra zibetha 2Crex crex 1, II
Lynx lynx 2, II Viverricula indica 2Crossoptilon harmani 2, I
Macaca assamensis 1, I Vulpes ferrilata 3, 4, 5 Cuculus sparverioides 4
M. mulatta 2, II V. vulpes 3, 4, 5 C. fugax 4
M. nemestrina 2, II Aves Dryocopus martius 4
M. thibetana 2, II Accipiter gentilis 2, II Dupetor flavicollis 4
Manis pentadactyla 2, II A. nisus 2, II Egretta alba 5
Martes flavigula 3,2 A. virgatus 2, II E. garzetta 5
M. foina 2, 3 Aceros nipalensis 2, II E. intermedia 4
Moschus berezovskii 2, I Aegypius monachus 2, II Eupodotis bengalensis 1, 1
M. chrysogaster 2, II Anser albifrons 2Falco cherrug 2, II
M. fuscus 2, II A. anser 5F. columbarius 2, II
M. moschiferus 2, I A.cygnoides 4F. subbuteo 2, II
Muntiacus muntiak 3A. indicus 3, 5 F. tinnunculus 2, II
M. reevesi 5Anthracoceros malayanus 2, II Francolinus pintadeanus 4
Mustela altaica 3, 4 Anthropoides virgo 2, II Gallicrex cinerea 4
M. eversmanni 3Apus affinis 4Gallinula chloropus 4
M. nivalis 4Aquila chrysaetos 1, II Glaucidium cuculoides 2, II
M. putorious 3, 4 A. heliaca 1, I Grus grus 2, II
M. sibirica 3A. rupux 2, II G. nigricollis 1, I
Naemoehedus Baileyi 1, I Asio otus 2, II Gypaetus barbatus 1, II
N. goral 2, I A. flammeus 2, II Gyps himalayensis 2, I
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Table 1. Continued.
Scientific name status Scientific name status Scientific name status
Haliaeetus albcilla 1, I Podiceps ruficollis 4B. pinchonii 4
H. leucoryphus 1, II P. cristatus 4B. tibetanus 3
Haliastur indus 2, II P. nigricollis 4Hyla tsinlingensis 4
Harpactes erythrocephalus 4Polyplectron bicalcaratum 1, II Hylarana daunchina 4
Hirundapus caudacutus 4Porzana bicolor 2, II Microhylidae(all species) 5
Hydrophasianus chirurgus 4P. fus c a 4Oreolalax liangbeiensis 4
Ithaginis cruentus 2, II Psittacula alexandri 2, II Polypedates hungfuensis 4
Ixobrychus sinensis 4P. derbiana 2, II Rana chensinensis 4
I. cinnamomcus 4Pucrasia macrolopha 2Ranidae (all species) 5
I. eurhythmus 4Rostratula benghalensis 4Ranodon shihi 4
Larus argentatus 4Spilornis cheela 2, II Scutiger chintingensis 4
L. brunnicephalus 4Spizaetus nipalensis 2, II Tylototriton verrucosus 2
L. crassirostris 4Sterna hirundo 4Vibrissaphora boringii 4
L. ichthyaetus 4Strix aluco 2, II Insecta
Leptoptilos lavanicus 4Syrrhaptes tibetanus 3,4 Zorotypus sinensis 2
Lerwa lerwa 4Tetraogallus tibetanus 2, I Z. medoensis 2
Loicichla omeiensis 4T. himalayensis 2Pisces
Lophophorus impejanus 1, I T. obscurus 1Anabarilius liui 4
L. lhuysii 1, I Tragopan melanocephalus 1, I A. qoihaiensis 4
L. sclateri 1, I T. blythii 1, I Belligobio pengxianensis 4
Lophura leucomelana 2T. satyra 1Cobitis rarus 4
Megalaima virens 4T. temminckii 2Coreius septentrionalis 5
Mergus serrator 4,5 Treron sphenura 2C. chengtuensis 4
M. castor 5Tringa erythropus 4Ctenogobius szechuanensis
Milvus milvus 2, II Reptilia Hemimyzon yaotanensis
Mycteria leucocephalus 2Deinagkistrodon acutus 4Leptobotia elongata 4
Netta rufina 5Elaphe perlacea 4L. microphtha 4
Pandion halietus 2, II Japalura grahami 4Percocypris pingi 4
Pavo muticus 1, II Oligodon multizonatum 4Procypris rabaudi 4
Phalacrocorax carbo 4Ophisaurus gracilis 3Salmo trutta 3
Phasianus colchicus 3Python molurus 1, II Schizothorax chongi 4
Picus flavinucha 4Amphibia S. cryptolepis 4
Platalea leucorodia 2, II Batrachuperus longdongensis 4Zacco chengtui 4
Illegal wildlife trade through smuggling in the Himalayan region
There is much illegal trade related to smuggling to other countries from the Chi-
nese Himalayan region. The three main species involved in this trade are the Tibetan
antelope, the Giant panda and Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug). The volumes of the
smuggling of these species are large and affect illegal wildlife trade in many other
countries in the world because of great profits.
The Tibetan antelope is an endemic species in Himalayan region (Yang and Feng
1998), listed in Appendix I of CITES and Category I of China Wildlife Protection
Law. In China, the population of Tibetan antelope was about 100 000 individuals in
the early 1990s (Yang and Feng 1998). Its wool, known as Shahtoosh (king of wool),
has long been prized for its extraordinary warmth and softness, and has traditionally
908
Table 2. Data on wildlife and its products confiscated by local forestry bureau in Sino-Burma border areas of Yunnan (YN)province in 1994–1995 (Wang and Li 1998).
Scientific name Type of wildlife Origin Destination Quantity Nationality of traders
Mammalia
Ailurus fulgens Live individuals China Tengchong of YN 1 Chinese
Panthera tigris Skeletons Burma Tengchong of YN 1 Burmese
Skins Burma Liuku of YN 1 Burmese
Manis pentadactyla Live individuals Burma Ruili, Baoshan of YN 14 Chinese
Scales Burma Inland of China 35 kg Chinese
Ursus thibetanus Live individuals Burma Hebei province of China 2 Chinese
Paws Burma Ruili of YN 10 Chinese
Neofelis nebulosa Live individuals Burma Inland of China 2 Chinese, Burmese
Elephas maximus Skins Burma Inland, Ruili 98 kg Burmese, Chinese
Macaca nemestrina Live individuals Burma Inland of China 1 Chinese
Macaca mulatta Liveindividuals Burma Inl. China, Ruili of YN 3 Chinese, Burmese
Macaca assamensis Live individuals Burma Ruili of YN 1 Chinese
Viverricula indian Live individuals ? Inland of China 2 Chinese
Paguma larvata Live individuals ? Inland of China 2 Chinese
Birds
Psittacula alexandri Live individuals Burma Inland of China 108 Burmese, Chinese
Polyplectron bicalcaratum Feather (singles) Burma Kunming of YN 70 000 Chinese
Gyps fulvus Live individuals China Shidian of YN 43 Chinese
Phasianus colchicus Live individuals China Baoshan of YN 34 Chinese
Gracula religiosa Live individuals Burma Ruili 1094 Chinese
Eagles (not identified) Live individuals ? Inland of China 7 Chinese
Lophura nycthemera Live individuals ? Inland of China 71 Chinese
Reptiles
Snakes (not identified) Live individuals ? Inl. China, Ruili of YN 1587 Chinese
Skins Burma Ruili of TN 70 Chinese
Naja naja Live individuals Burma Baoshan of YN 20 Chinese
Elaphe taeniura Live individuals Burma Baoshan of YN 53 Chinese
Python molurus Skins Burma Ruili of YN 14 Chinese
Varanus salvator Live individuals China, Burma Tengchong, Ruili of YN 17 Chinese
Tortoises (not identified) Live individuals Burma Tengchong of YN 8 Chinese
909
been used in the manufacture of shawls (Kumar 1993). In 1992, the price of Shah-
toosh was about US$ 1250/kg(Kumar 1993). China exporteda small volume of skins
of Tibetan antelope before 1985 (Wang and Li 1998), but large-scale illegal hunting of
the antelope started in Kekexili natural reserve in Qinghai in 1989. From there hunt-
ing spread to Aerjinshan natural reserve in Xinjiang in 1992 and to nature reserves
in Tibet in 1994. The wool is usually smuggled from Tibet to India via Nepal, and
from India to European countriessuch as Italy and France.It has been estimated that
about 20 000 Tibetan antelopes are killed annually(China Forestry Bureau 1999). The
Chinese Government pays much attention to the illegal hunting and trade in Tibetan
antelope. For instance, about 17 000 skins and dead bodies, and 1100 kg of Shahtoosh
were confiscated from illegal hunters and traders in 1989–1998 (China Forestry Bur-
eau 1999). Most confiscations occurred in Qinghai and Xinjiang. However, the illegal
trade continues and spreads to other areas where Tibetan antelope occurs.
The Giant panda occurs in the eastern edge areas of the Himalayan region, a
border area of Sichuan, Gansu and Shanxi (Hu 1998). With a population of about
1000 individuals it is one of the most endangered species in the world. Threats to
the Giant panda include deforestation, habitat fragmentationand hunting (Hu 1998).
Illegal hunting and trade began in the mid-1980s, but the scale of this operation has
been unknown. At least 52 skins of the Giant panda were confiscated in 30 cases of
illegal trade from 1987 to 1998 (Table 3) (Li Y-M, unpublished data). Of these skins
45 came from Sichuan, 5 from Shanxi and 2 from Gansu. The figure of 52 hunted
animals is an underestimate because many cases related to the Giant panda are not
public. For example, there were 153 cases of illegal trade in the Giant panda during
1989–1992.
From 1987 to 1998, 30 cases of illegaltrade in the Giant pandaoccurredin many
provinces, such as Sichuan, Guangdong(at least five cases), Shanghai, Shanxi, Hubei,
Gansu, Fujian (at least four cases), Qinghai, Hunan, Beijing and Shanxi. About one
third of the cases occurred in Sichuan. The skins of the Giant panda are smuggled
from Fujian and Guangdong to Taiwan and Hong Kong, and from there to other
countries. According to China Forestry Bureau skin of giant panda may cost as much
as US$ 100 000 in the black markets in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The penalty for illegal hunting and trade in the Giant panda is very high, from
imprisonment to death. At least seven illegal huntersand traders have been sentenced
to death and hundreds to prison (Li Y-M, unpulished data).
At present, lumbering activities in the distribution area of the Giant panda have
been stopped, and conservation work for establishing corridors for the species be-
tween habitat fragments is being carried out (Fan and Wang 1993). In spite of these
efforts, the Giant panda remains threatened because illegal hunting and trade contin-
ues, becoming the main threat to the survivalof the species.
The Saker Falcon is a species listed in Appendix II of CITES and Category II of
the state of China protection list. The species occurs in the provinces of Xinjiang,
Qinghai, Gansu, Tibet, Heibei and Ningxia (Zheng 1994). In the Middle East, the
910
Table 3. Numbers of the Giant Panda and Saker
Falcon confiscated in China during 1987–1998
and 1992–1998, respectively. Source: Li Yiming,
unpublished data.
Giant panda Saker falcon
Year (skins) (individuals)
1987 7
1988 3
1989 6
1990 10
1991 3
1992 3 19
1993 2 38
1994 2 79
1995 7 378
1996 4 245
1997 3 174
1998 2 14
Total 52 947
Saker Falcon is a symbol of wealth and power, and a well-trained bird may be sold
for as much as US$ 100 000 or even more (Cai 1996). In China, the price of a bird
is only tens of dollars. The great profits from the trade in the Saker Falcon encourage
international smugglers to come to China to capture or purchase live specimens.
Illegal capturing of the Saker Falcon began in Xinjiang in 1992 and spread quickly
(Table 3). In 1994, most of illegal capturing took place in Qinghai, in 1996in Ninxia
and in 1997 in Inner Mongolia. A total of 954 Saker Falcons was confiscated by
local governments and customs between 1992 and 1998, and about two thousand
smugglers were arrested (information collected by Li Yiming from forestry bureaus
and customs offices in Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Inner Mongolia and Beijing). Most
of the smugglers are Pakistanis, and they usually come from Pakistan, the United
Arab Emirates and even Germany. The penalty for illegal trade and capturing is a
small fine (usually a few tens of US$) and deportation from China. However, most
smugglers return to smuggling because of the high profits and light penalty.
There are different routes of Saker Falcon trade from China to theArab countries.
A large proportion of the birds are smuggled through Beijing. A total of 354 Saker
Falcons involving 28 cases were confiscated at Beijing airport since the first case
in October 1993 (Li Y-M, unpublished data). Many Saker Falcons are brought to
Arab countries through the Xinjiang-Pakistan border, aboard Xinjiang-Arab country
airlines, from Guangzhou to overseas on airplanes, over Yunnan borders and so on
(Wang and Li 1998).
The mortality rate of the Saker Falcons is very high during capture and trans-
portation. Customs and local forestry officers often find dead and sick birds among
the confiscated Saker Falcons (Cai 1996; Wang and Li 1998). Although the number
911
of Saker Falcons confiscated decreased in 1997–1998, it does not necessarily mean
that the illegal trade has diminished. Illegal capturing and trade of Saker Falcon still
exists, and may spread to other Saker Falcon habitats in China.
Illegal wildlife trade within China
Illegal hunting and trade in wildlife are commonly practised in the Himalayan region
in China. During 1994–1997 about 40% of illegal wildlife trade in China occurred in
the region (Cheng 1994; Zhang 1995, 1996, 1997). The species with the most volume
of trade is Alpine musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster) (Table 4). At least 60 000 musks
were confiscated during 1989–1998 equalling the same number of male musk deer
killed. Red deer (Cervus elaphus), Tibetan gazelle (Procapra picticaudata), Mon-
golian gazelle (P. gutturosa), Bharal (Pseudois nayaur), Snow leopard (Uncia un-
cia) and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) were also hunted and traded heavily
(Table 4). However, the volume of species involved in domestic illegal trade and hunt-
ing has declined since 1995. For example,most hunting and trade in the Mongolian
gazelle, Bharal, Tibetan gazelle and snow leopard occurredbefore 1993. Furthermore,
most confiscations of musk and deer pilose antlers took place before 1995.
An example of the volume of illegal wildlife trade within China are the confisca-
tion records from the city of Xian, the largest city in the northwest of China. During
six months in 1995 parts of atleast 9 species wereconfiscated in Xian (Table 5). Six
of these species are listed on the state protection list.
Himalayan wildlife and wildlife products are commonlyused in Tibetan and tra-
ditional Chinese medicine. Both types of medicinal practices are popular and have a
long history in the region. Most Chinese, including Tibetans and other minorities,
rely on the traditional medicines even today. Tibetan medicines originated about
2300 years ago (Qiang 1996), and the number of species used in is high. For instance,
in Yunnan province over 6100 species of plants and 372 species of animals are used
in traditional medicines (Table 6). Approximately 130 species of animals are used in
Tibetan medicine (Yang 1993), and 15% of these species are also used in traditional
Chinese medicine (Yang and Chu 1987). About 10% of these species come from
Nepal and India, suggesting that there must be a lot of illegal trade for traditional
medicines across the border between China and Nepal, and China and India, as well
as between Himalayan region and other parts of China. It is also notable that tiger
bone is used in traditional Tibetan medicine.
It is evident that illegal trade for Tibetan medicines and traditional Chinese medi-
cines continues. AlthoughChina Wildlife Protection Law prohibits the medicinal use
of the species listed as ASSP, such as deer antler and musk, illegal trade in the spe-
cies is continues. For instance, only a small proportion of the total deer pilose antler
and musk used in medicines comes from captive-bred animals; most is from wild
animals (Guo et al. 1997). Despite a decline in the volumesof deer piloseantler and
912
Table 4. Information on confistication of main species listed on Animals under State’s Special Protection (ASSP) related to domestic trade in Himalayan
region during 1989–1998. Source: data provided by the forestry bureaus of Qinghai, Xinjiang, Tibet, Gansu, Sichuan and Ninxia.
Species Parts traded Quantity Origin Provinces where confiscated
Procapra gutturosa Dead body >9500 ind. Qinghai, Xinjiang Qinghai, Xinjiang
Meat thousands kg Qinghai Sanxi
P. picticaudata Skins 624 Qinghai, Tibetan Qinghai, Tibetan
Capricornis sumatraensis Meat thousands kg Qinghai Sanxi
Gazella subguttarosa Meat thousands kg Qinghai Sanxi
Naemorhedus goral Meat thousands kg Qinghai Sanxi
Ovis ammon Skins 29 Qinghai, Xinjiang Qinghai, Xinjiang
Cervus elaphus Skins 118 Qinghai, Xinjiang Qinghai, Xinjiang
Antler pilose 180Qinghai Qinghai
C. albirostris Skins 88 Qinghai, Tibetan Qinghai, Tibetan
Moschus chrysogaster Skins 8 Qinghai Qinghai
Musk 60 000 singles Qinghai Qinghai
Bos grunniens Skins 204 Qinghai, Tibetan Qinghai, Tibetan
Equus kiang Skins 4 Qinghai Qinghai
Canis lupus Skins 3 Qinghai Qinghai
Lynx lynx Skins 10 Qinghai Qinghai
Octocolobus manul Skins 1 Qinghai Qinghai
Uncia uncia Skins 42 Qinghai Qinghai
Dead body 30 Qinghai, Xingjiang Qinghai, Xinjiang
Panthera tigris Skins 1 Tibetan Tibetan
Skulls 1 Tibetan Tibetan
Ursus thibetanus Skins 5 Gansu, Sichuan Gansu, Sichuan
Live 23 ind. Sichuan Hebei, Guangxi, Liaonin
Paws 188 Sichuan Hebei, Guangxi, Liaonin
Gallballders 2 Sichuan Heibei
Pygathrix raxellana Skins 5 Gansu Gansu
Including antler piloses of Cervus elaphus and C. albirostris.
913
Table 5. Data on wildlife and its products confiscated in Xian by Shanxi Forestry
Bureau during May–October 1995 (Wang and Li 1998).
Scientific names Parts Origin Quantity
Mammals
Bos grunniens Skulls Himalayan region 5
Procapra gutturosa Skulls Northeast of China 5
Procapra picticaudata Skulls Himalayan region 3
Pantholops hodgsoni Skulls Himalayan region 3
Nemorhaedus goral Live individuals Himalayan region 2
Ursus thibetanus Live individuals Himalayan region 2
Birds
Grus grus specimen Eco-Himalayan 1
Phasianus colchicus Specimen Shanxi 1
Eagle (not identified) Specimen Shanxi 1
Snakes (not identified) Live individual Shanxi 2
Table 6. Number of species used in CTM and TM in Xizang, Qinghai and Yunnan
in China (Wang and Li 1998).
Number of species
Province Plants Animals Data source
Yunnan 6157 372 Yunnan Medicines Material Company (1993)
Xizang 957 130 Yang (1993)
Qinghai 1508 100Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology (1989)
Vertebrates only.
musk purchased in Himalayan region during 1990–1995, illegal trade in the region
continues (Guo et al. 1997). In Qinghai province, a decline of some species due to
illegal trade has led to a fall in production of medicines containing deer pilose antler,
musk and bear gall bladder (Zhou et al. 1994).
Discussion
In China, the modern legislation for wildlife conservation was established for three
reasons. First, wildlife is seriously threatened in China. At least six species of mam-
mals are considered to be extinct from the wild (WCMC 1992; Li and Li 1994; Wang
1998), including Przewalski’s horse (Equus przewalskii), David’s deer (Elaphurus
davidianus), and Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica). Other species, such as the Giant
panda and tiger are critically endangered. Almost all wildlife resources are over-used
in China (CWE 1989), affecting the development of economy and environmental
protection in China.
914
Second, international conventions for wildlife conservation have accelerated the
need for modern legislation for wildlife conservation in China. After the conventions
have been signed, corresponding national laws are required.
Third, China began a period of reform of the planned economy in 1978. The
management policy of the state-owned hunting and wildlife companies before 1978
was not suitable for private companies in wildlife trade. Furthermore,the state-owned
companies have not been able to control the illegal wildlife trade. Therefore, there
was an increasing demand for legislation to controlthe illegal trade.
The development of regulationsfor wildlife conservation in China is reflected in
the conservation status of wildlife in the Himalayan region as more species become
protected by law. However, development of wildlife conservation in the Himalayan
region still lags behind the general level of wildlife conservation in China because
most reserves in the region were established quite recently. Today, nature reserves in
the region constitute the main body of the protected areas in China.
Although large areas of the Himalayan region are now protected, the heaviest
illegal hunting and trade in China occurs in there. Two changes are evident in the
illegal wildlife trade. On the one hand, illegal trade related to the domestic black
market, such as the illegal fur and medicine trade, has declined during the recent
years. On the other hand, international illegal trade continues and spreads, despite
improved control practices. Consequently, illegal trade has become a main threat to
the survival of wildlife in the Himalayan region.
Illegal wildlife hunting and trade in the Himalayan region in China reflects the
weaknesses of CWPL and problems in enforcement of the laws. The CWPL is still
imperfect (Zhang and Zhang 1993; Wang 1998). For instance, Wang (1998) suggest-
ed that one of the weaknesses of CWPL is that penalties are too low and difficult
to apply in practice. Furthermore, there is a need to revise the state protection list
because the conservation status of many species has changed during 10 years since
the establishment of the CWPL (Wang 1998).
The power of the CWPL is especially limited as regards international smuggling–
for instance across the Sino-Russian border (Chan 1995; Makswhinuk and Zhirnov
1995) and across the Sino-Vietnam border (Li and Li 1996, 1997a–c, 1998). The
illegal trade across the Sino-Vietnam border began in 1989 (Li and Li 1998), and
is connected to the illegal wildlife trade in many provinces of China, Hong Kong,
Macao and countries in Southeast Asia. Although bi-lateral meetings for controlling
the illegal trade between China and Vietnam were held in 1995 and 1998, the effects
were very limited, and the trade continues.
The illegal trade across the Sino-Russian borders began in the late of 1980s.
Horn of the Saiga antelope and otherwildlife products including tiger boneare traded.
To control the illegal trade, the CITES Conference placed the Saiga antelope in
Appendix II of CITES in 1993. As a result, the volume of trade in Saiga horn had
declined by 1995, but has not stopped entirely (Li Y-M, unpublished data).
915
An additional weakness in the CWPL is that it does not deal with foreign hunt-
ers and traders. Therefore, there is no standard penalty to foreigners. For example,
thousands of Pakistanis illegally hunt and purchase Saker Falcon, but if caught, the
penalty is usually so small that it does notdiscouragethem fromcontinuingwith the
lucrative trade. Thus, there is a need to establish ‘regulations for wildlife import and
export’ to complementthe CWPL (Wang 1998).
Another problem is that nature reserves in the Himalayan region suffer from lack
of funding. For example, oneof largest reserves in China and the main site for Tibetan
antelope, the Kekexili Nature Reserve (45 000 km2) in Qinghai, has only 19 offi-
cers with insufficient equipment for patrolling the reserve. Illegal hunters and traders
often go free because forestry police do not have adequate funds to detect and in-
vestigate the cases properly. Furthermore, many local residents in the region have
no knowledge of wildlife conservation and CWPL. Thus, to conserve wildlife in the
region, there is a need to enforce the CWPL, improve the park officers’ ability to
efficiently patrol and guard the park, and to educate local residents about wildlife
conservation.
All countries in the Himalayan region have laws for biodiversity conservation
(Wang and Li 1998). China, India, Pakistan, Burma and Nepal are parties to CITES,
but Bhutan is not. Most of the countries in the region have incorporated and imple-
mented some of their international obligations in their national laws, yet poaching
wildlife for trade continues in the border areas, and the laws and conventions have
little impact. There are several loopholes.
First, there are differences in the laws of the neighbouring countries and differ-
ences in the penalties. For example, in China a person can be sentenced to death for
killing an endangered species. In Bhutan and India, however, the penalty is impris-
onment for a few years and a nominal fine (Wang and Li 1998). Furthermore, often
illegal trade is considered to be a bailable offence, and poacher and traders are soon
free to continue their plunder (Wright and Kumar 1997). This could be a major cause
of the high incidence of poaching of tiger andrhino, the demandfor whose products
is high in China.
Second, there are differences in degree of protection accorded to endangered ani-
mals in the different countries. For instance, the endangered Tibetan Antelope, which
is an Appendix I species under CITES and has been placed in Category I of ASSP in
China, has been accorded a Schedule II status in the state wildlife law of Jammu and
Kashmir (disputed territories bordering China in the north). This region is a major
centre for Shahtoosh trade, and being a Schedule II species, controlled trade in the
antelope is permitted (Wright and Kumar 1997).
Third, national legislation is often not enforced in areas that are inhabited mainly
by tribal and minority communities which is often the case in the Himalayan region.
Such mechanism for control of wildlife use and trade should be formulated that take
into consideration the special ethnic conditions in thisregion. Some governments give
due recognition to the laws and customs of local people.
916
Acknowledgements
This project is supported by a grant from National Nature Science Fund
(code: 039811058), grants from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (code: 029721066
and A2999083) and a grant from the State Key Laboratoryof Integrated Management
of Pest Insects and Rodents. We are grateful to the following people: officers at Chi-
na Forestry Bureau, Beijing Forestry Bureau, Xian Forestry Bureau, Ruili Forestry
Bureau, Funing Forestry Bureau, Linchang Forestry Bureau, and Baoshan Natural
Reserve of Yunnan who provided us with data. We thank two anonymous referees for
useful comments. The contents of this paper, and the opinions expressed herein, are
those of the authors and in no way reflect governmental opinions.
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... This range loss and shift may seriously impact the population of this species. Additionally, the YTM populations are decreasing globally and seriously threatened due to poaching (for its beautiful pelt and fur), habitat destruction and human-YTM conflicts (Adhikari and Fischer, 2010;Basnet and Rai, 2020;Chutipong et al., 2016;Jnawali et al., 2011;Li et al., 2000;Mallick, 2015;Prater, 1971;Roberts, 1970). ...
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Coronaviruses are zoonotic viruses, RNA viruses and belong to family Coronaviridae; cause respiratory infections and they have a documented in end of 2019, th COVID of wild fauna worldwide demands have been made for marketplaces due to the strong relationship between spread. animals during COVID-Keywords: Coronaviridae, COVID
... Un'immaginazione che però genera poteri antinaturali. (Si vedano per approfondimenti: Yiming et al., 2000;Karesh et al., 2005;Shepherd and Nijman, 2007;Abernethy et al., 2013;Roe et al., 2002;Harrison et al., 2016;Greatorex et al., 2016;Zhang et al., 2008;Heikkinen, 2014;van Uhm, 2016;Bush et al., 2014). ...
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... Fourth, protection is hampered by differences in the laws of neighboring countries, differences in penalties and in the degrees of protection. Furthermore, national legislation is often not fully enforced in areas that are inhabited mainly by tribal and minority communities (Li et al. 2000). A significant volume of illegal wildlife trade has also been reported between China and Vietnam. ...
... However, more nefarious actions exist that include high demand for the illegal wildlife trade, which is an estimated six billion US dollar black market (Warchol 2004). If habitat loss or degradation and a changing climate were not severe enough, thousands of animals are hunted, poached, and trafficked for reasons ranging from consumption, to forced enclosure, and for their parts as a component of nonscientific-based "traditional" medicines (Yi-Ming et al. 2000). One of the key drivers of this horrific trade is that international laws and penalties are paltry, where the economic reward is much greater than the risk resulting in potentially lucrative windfalls (Ayling 2013). ...
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