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Exploring natural solutions for wildlife




Prosecutors in Nanyang, central China's Henan Province, dropped their charges in a case involving the trade in macaques in March 2023. 

The prosecutor's office dropped the accusations during this time, citing "changes in the law and judicial interpretation." It made reference to an interpretation document that China's top procuratorate and court published in April 2022.

The revised law has refined measures for the regulation of wildlife populations in detail.

"Graded, categorized management of wild animals bred in captivity" is what the amended law offers. "Three-haves" species lag behind "national key protected wildlife" in terms of protection priority. The "three-haves" – species that are thought to have "special ecological, scientific, or social significance" – are one such group.

Certain modifications made to the law have been perceived as reducing restrictions on the captive breeding of animals classified as "three-haves." Article 25 now states that "a record shall be filed with the local competent authority" instead of "a licence for captive breeding must be obtained" as the prerequisite for breeding such animals. 

Concerns have been raised by a few civil society organizations that this will undermine conservation efforts, promote the growth of the wildlife breeding industry, and make it easier for unlawfully hunted animals to be mislabeled as captive-bred. Nonetheless, some scholars believe that by making conservation management more case-by-case and less universal, the modified law improves it.

The existing law on wildlife protection was formulated in 1988 and since then had seen three amendments and a revision, according to Yue Zhongming with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

It has helped step up the protection of wild animals and their habitats and strengthen the rescue and breeding of endangered wildlife, said Yue, adding that it has also played an active role in preserving biodiversity and pushing forward with ecological conservation in China.

Ran Jingcheng, head of the wildlife and forest plant management station in southwest China's Guizhou Province, pointed out in his article that strengthening the management of wild animals is not as simple as banning artificial breeding.

In his view, artificial breeding of wild animals has significance in the protection of endangered species and the adjustment of rural industrial structure. Be sure to clearly define wild animals and artificially bred animals first. Artificially bred animals should be used rationally.

Jin Keke, professor of the School of Law at East China University of Political Science and Law, pointed out that from the perspective of public health and safety, the safest approach is to completely ban the trade of wild animals.

It is necessary to establish the principle of combining key protection and universal protection, and to include all types of wild animals with conservation value within the scope of legal protection. It is necessary to protect other wild animals outside the list at the same time, such as formulating regulations and restricting large-scale use, said Yang Zhaoxia, a professor at the Beijing Forestry University.

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