Environmentalists and those at the helm of affairs in conserving the wildlife of Assam are infuriated and bewildered by China’s decision to revoke the ban trade of animal body parts, particularly rhino horn and bones of tiger.
The decision by China on Monday to revoke the 25-year-old ban has got alarm bells ringing across the globe as exasperated wildlife conservationists fear it would force the two already endangered species into extinction.
China’s State Council had reportedly stated on Monday that the ban, enacted in 1993, would be partially lifted to allow tiger and rhino parts to be used for medicine, scientific research and ‘cultural exchanges’, underscoring that the trade will be strictly controlled and the products must come from animals in captivity.
But wildlife activists are of the view this would lead to emboldening traffickers to poach and stockpile goods for China that gives exceptionally lucrative price on the animal body parts.
They are also of the view that increase in demand for the animals will lure poachers into the reserve forests of Assam for the famed one-horned rhinos and tigers.
So far in this year only 5 rhinos were killed in Kaziranga National Park which is fairly less compared to previous years.
Rhino horns and tiger bones are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine. They are prescribed to treat a large variety of ailments including fever, gout, insomnia and meningitis, though there is no scientific explanation behind it.
Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in a statement cautioned that the move would have ‘devastating consequences’ and be an ‘enormous setback’ in conservation of wildlife.
“Even if restricted to antiques and use in hospitals, this trade would increase confusion by consumers and law enforcers as to which products are and are not legal, and would likely expand the markets for other tiger and rhino products,” the WWF statement further stated.