Guardians honored for taming wildlife trafficking

By Wang Ru ( China Daily ) Updated: 2012-12-05 09:33:46

Guardians honored for taming wildlife trafficking

Cries of mother earth

Guardians honored for taming wildlife trafficking

Paradise of birds

"Unfortunately, that was many onlookers' first time seeing these rare animals," Li says.

"I fear later generations won't even have a chance to see their products, let alone the living creatures."

On May 22, 2006, Xiamen Dongdu Customs inspectors opened a box imported from Indonesia labeled "frozen fish". The actual contents were 2,849 frozen pangolins and 2,600 big geckos.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The next eight months were spent bringing down an international wildlife trafficking ring that smuggled animals from Southeast Asian countries into China.

The number of pangolins the group smuggled in one year was almost equal to the species' population in Cambodia.

In August 2011, Xiamen Customs cracked the largest ivory smuggling case since 1949.

But this hasn't stopped the ivory trade. China is one of ivory's biggest black markets, which fuels killings and smugglings, according to the global program monitoring wildlife trade network TRAFFIC.

The growing demand for ivory has brought African elephant poaching to the highest level in a decade.

More than 25,000 elephants are killed every year, TRAFFIC reports.

China joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1981.

"Wildlife's connection to the environment supports humankind's life and development," says Yang Wanguo, a Beijing News investigative reporter, whose report on China's ivory trade shed light on the market's dark side.

"The public should know wildlife products come from bloody slaughters."

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