China’s Wildlife Protection Law Will Harm Wildlife

ENVIRONMENT

China has released a new draft of its wildlife conservation law, and it does little to actually promote conservation. (Nat Geo News)

What is conservation, and why is it important? Read our encyclopedic entry to find out.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Tiger farms and safari parks breed tigers for their coats, bones, and the lucrative look-see tourist trade. Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Tiger farms and safari parks breed tigers for their coats, bones, and the lucrative look-see tourist trade.
Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • The Nat Geo News article outlines the omissions in China’s new wildlife conservation law. What is the leading wildlife conservation law in the Untied States?

 

 

 

These sun bears are bred to extract their bile, a substance manufactured in the gall bladder and used for healing purposes in Chinese medicine. Photograph by Dan Bennett, courtesy Wikimedia. CC BY 2.0

These sun bears are bred to extract their bile, a substance stored in the gall bladder and used for healing purposes in Chinese medicine.
Photograph by Dan Bennett, courtesy Wikimedia. CC BY 2.0

  • Another way China’s conservation law fails to protect wildlife is through allowing use of animal products in traditional medicine. What is an example of a product used in traditional medicine? Read through the Nat Geo News article for some help.
    • The tigers bred in China’s tiger farms are often killed for their bones, which are used in the treatment of asthma, rheumatism, headaches, and fever.
    • According to Nat Geo, “Chinese bear bile farms hold more than 10,000 bears whose bile is routinely extracted for use” in treating a wide variety of ailments, including: hemorrhoids, sore throats, sores, bruising, muscle ailments, sprains, epilepsy, fever, poor eyesight, gall stones, the overconsumption of alcohol, and liver diseases. Extracting bear bile doesn’t kill the bear, but the conditions of extraction are, according to Nat Geo, painful and invasive. So-called “bile bears” include the Asiatic black bear, the sun bear, and the brown bear.

 

This giant panda performs as part of a Chinese circus. Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

This giant panda performs as part of a Chinese circus.
Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

  • Another way China’s conservation law fails to protect wildlife is through “the endorsement of wild animals for public displays and performances.” What is an example of this? Read through the Nat Geo News article for some help.
    • According to Nat Geo, “wild animal performances are allowed at safari parks, marine parks, circuses, aquariums, and other privately owned enterprises. Tigers jumping through rings of fire, bears riding bicycles, and monkeys doing acrobatics are just a few of the myriad shows put on for tourists.”

 

The gelatinous filaments in bird’s nest soup aren’t noodles, they’re strands of softened, solidified saliva from swiftlets that are often bred in facilities to harvest their nests. Photograph by InterContinental Hong Kong, courtesy Flickr. CC BY ND 2.0

The gelatinous filaments in bird’s nest soup aren’t noodles, they’re strands of softened, solidified saliva from swiftlets that are often bred in facilities to harvest their nests.
Photograph by InterContinental Hong Kong, courtesy Flickr. CC BY ND 2.0

 

  • It’s not all bad news. What positive aspects of China’s conservation plan does the Nat Geo News article acknowledge?
    • Tiger bone products are officially banned in China.
    • The government has recommended against animal performances in zoos.
    • The Chinese government has banned the consumption of shark fin soup and bird’s nest soup at official banquets.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: Five Ways China’s Wildlife Protection Law Will Harm Wildlife

Nat Geo: What is conservation?

Nat Geo: Introduction to Captive Breeding

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