China is postponing its decision that would have allowed the use of tiger bone and rhino horn by hospitals and domestic trade in antique tiger and rhino products.
Chinese local reports say that the ban on the import and export of rhino and tiger parts and their use in traditional Chinese medicine would also be maintained.
During October, Chinese authorities lifted a quarter-century ban on the use of tiger and rhino parts. The decision received criticism from wildlife conservationists and environmentalists, who said such a move would revive an underground trade for the animal parts and put wild populations of rhinos and tigers in danger.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for its part, stated that overturning the ban would have “devastating consequences globally” by enabling poachers and smugglers to hide behind legalised trade.
Reacting to the latest development, the Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States called for China to completely ban the trade in tiger and rhino products. They have also filed a legal appeal for a ban on US imports of all wildlife and their parts from China unless China formally reinstates a complete ban on domestic trade in tigers and rhinos and their parts and products.
What is more, the UN Environment believes that the renegotiation of current bans on trade in rhino and tiger parts is very alarming development, as it stated that:
To allow rhino horn and tiger bones to re-enter the market also falsely indicates that these products have medical value. We don’t know the impact this will have on stimulating demand. Experience shows how difficult it is to curb a black market for these products when a legal market also exists.
According to AP news, 3,890 tigers are estimated that are still alive in the wild, while studies put the population of wild rhinos at less than 30,000.