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Yunnan bans wildlife trade

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Monitor lizards, a slow loris and wild ducks for sale in Mongla, Myanmar
Monitor lizards, a slow loris and wild ducks for sale in Mongla, Myanmar

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, many Chinese provinces and cities have imposed strict bans on trading and consuming of wildlife, a move designed to protect public health.

Yesterday, the Yunnan provincial government vowed to fully ban illegal trading and hunting of wildlife. A regulation was put forward by the Yunnan government which stipulates a full ban on illegal trading of wildlife as of July. This includes an end to the habit of eating wildlife and a crackdown on cross-border illegal trading and smuggling of wildlife. This is a significant challenge as Yunnan sees more illegal trading of wildlife than most Chinese provinces, given its long shared border with neighboring countries Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

The move also includes ecological preservation and establishing a system to trace violators. Police in Yunnan regularly bust cases involving the illegal trading of rare and endangered animals and wildlife products. Last February, 31 pieces of ivory, two pangolin scales and the skull of a helmeted hornbill were seized in Kunming. In 2016 an animal smuggling ring of record proportions was broken up.

Header image: Shi Yi

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Fantastic news, Vera. July has arrived. We as a community need to do our part as eyes and ears to protect our wildlife kin. By reporting any illegal solicitation, trade, and consumption of banned wildlife around town. Within Kunming, there exists visible, high-end shops as well as restaurants (operating inconspicuously) without proper license that serve to niche clientele high mark-up wildlife menus touting "nutritious" value without evidence-based backing. These establishments need to given a warning. Change happens not by sitting quietly on sideline, but with active engagement by the masses. Now the proposed ban inching toward an enforceable regulation in Yunnan, whistleblowers seeking to expose these illegal business activities ought to receive backing by central, provincial, city, and district government officials.

What exactly does a "ban on illegal activities" really mean? Surely illegal activities are already banned by definition. I hope this move helps, but I suspect it will soon be business as usual.

There is a danger of conflating the legal trade in wildlife, with the illegal trade in wildlife. Most of the animals traded are not endangered species.

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