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Another one of our top conservation success stories of 2019 is the China’s effort to curb illegal wildlife trafficking in Africa.
Workshops are being held for Chinese nationals living and working in Kenya and Botswana to raise awareness on wildlife trafficking.
The workshops, which took place in March 2019, were attended by more than 200 Chinese nationals working in state-owned enterprises and private businesses.
With the recent expansion of Chinese investment in Africa, ivory smuggling incidents involving Chinese nationals continue to be reported. The strengthening of laws to address illegal wildlife trade and increasingly tougher penalties has meant that Chinese citizens based in these countries need to be more aware of these regulations and the consequences of engaging in wildlife crimes.
Chinese consumer demand is a main driver of the illegal wildlife trade, threatening various species including pangolins, elephants and rhinos. China’s recent decision to close its domestic ivory market, to ban the commercial processing of rhino horn and tiger bone and tighten its legislation on trade in other endangered species shows the government’s commitment to tackling illegal wildlife trade.
The Chinese government is also intensifying the monitoring of its markets and crucial transport links and increasing border inspection. The workshop in Africa are also part of the government’s long-term strategy to educate its citizens about the laws governing the wildlife trade.
Zhou Fei, chief programme officer of WWF China said:
“Legal ivory is no longer available in China. In addition, any attempt to bring ivory from abroad is illegal and will be punished by law. Ivory or rhino horn items are simply not options as souvenir or gifts for international travellers.”
A public pledge to say no to illegal wildlife trade was made at the end of the workshop by the representatives of the local Chinese nationals and companies in Kenya and Botswana. The workshop was the 15th of its kind, jointly conducted by WWF and China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration, in collaboration with various Chinese Embassies in Africa.