China is home to some of the world’s most endangered species including the Giant Panda, Siberian Tiger, and Asiatic Black Bear and nearly 40 percent of China’s mammal species are endangered. The destruction of their habitats is the greatest threat to these diminishing creatures so statutes have been put in place since 1980 to protect the environment that is so crucial to their survival. Laws, regulations, nature preserves, and environmental conservation groups like WildAid and the Asian Animal Protection Network are working to keep these animals out of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the black market. In 1998, China banned the domestic timber trade and began a reforestation program- it is now one of the only countries in the world where forest cover is expanding, but problems with mono-cropping exist even there.
The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna is an international agreement between governments that was adopted in 1973 to regulate the international trade of species. However, Hong Kong is still the world’s leader in the illegal trade of animal furs (including tiger pelts), rhino horns, bear gall bladders and paws, and ground-up animal bones so it is not until the global demand for these items is reduced that these animals will be truly safe from direct human harm.
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