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So China announced this morning that it is legalizing some trade in tiger bone and rhino horn for use in "medical research or in healing." That could spell game over for the world's 30,000 remaining rhinos and 4,000 remaining tigers.
2 - Trade in legal endangered species products inevitably masks laundering of those same products from illegally killed animals. This is happening already for tigers, which China has been farming for decades. https://t.co/J4AtaUXQuf
3 - China also has an appalling track record of controlling trade in endangered species. Its legal ivory market contributed to a 30% drop in African elephant numbers from 2007 to 2014. China is the primary cause of the current elephant poaching crisis.
4 - In January, China banned domestic ivory trade. Yet illegal ivory trade continues to thrive online and in neighboring countries catering to Chinese tourists. With this new announcement re: rhinos and tigers, the ivory ban is now looking more and more like a PR stunt.
5 - Just as with ivory, China's opening of rhino horn and tiger bone trade will very likely stimulate demand for these products and signal to consumers that it's ok to purchase these products (which, btw, have no medical efficacy). It also undoes years of effort to REDUCE demand.
6 - China is a signatory to @CITES, an intl. treaty that specifically states tigers should not be bred for their parts. Rhino horn is also banned from intl. trade. W this decision, China is giving CITES and the intl. community the middle finger. Will CITES actually react?
7 - @CITES can issue sanctions against China for legalizing tiger and rhino trade. The U.S. can, too, via the Pelly Amendment. Threat of using this amendment led to China's 1993 ban on rhino/tiger products. Will the U.S. once again stand up to China? @USFWS@realDonaldTrump
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