Alan RusbridgerEditor-in-ChiefThe Guardian
Ms. Jieqing Zhang, Director Division of International Organizations Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive secretary, CBD
Wildlife Protection Law Action:
Update China’s wildlife protection law
The law protecting endangered species in China is not functioning effectively.Many of the 300 species listed under China’s law on the protection of wildlife (1988), whichprovides the first level of protection, are in decline. The baiji or Chinese river dolphin wasdeclared extinct in 2007 for example due to loss and disturbance of its habitat. Another issue isthat the law permits captive breeding centres, which often do more to supply restaurants andpharmacies than protect wild animals, even though they are listed as conservation centres.There are 164 of these farms containing scorpions, salamanders, crocodiles, heron, musk deer,black bears, golden coin turtles and cobra. The law should be updated so that its guiding policyis changed to protecting wildlife habitat, restricting wildlife trade, and abandoning wild animalconsumption.
In 2000, government advisers appealed to modify national wildlife law. The mostimportant revision regarded habitat, according to Sun Youhai, the director of the law-proposingoffice, the National People’s Congress’s environment and resources protection committee. Hesaid: “Wildlife cannot breed and live without a favourable environment. In the past we onlyfocused on protecting wild animals, however, not enough attention had been paid to wildlifehabitat, and that should be strengthened in the revision of wildlife protection law.” A paperpublished in Conservation Biology by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Scienceconcluded that commonly farmed wildlife has a bleak future.
Mountain Pikas Action:
Improve grassland habitat by stopping large-scale poisoning of mountain pikas
Imagine a large, furry gerbil with no tail and you are close to what a pika lookslike. Considered a pest, it is being poisoned over large expanses of its range across the Tibetanplateau using grain laced with botulin poison – at a cost of US$925m since 2006. This occursdespite warnings from conservation scientists that the pika is a keystone species – meaning itsremoval would have far-reaching consequences including a scarcity of food for mammals andbirds that feed on it. Pika burrows also have two important functions, serving as nests forendemic birds and to help make alpine turf more porous, minimising soil erosion. The pika itselfis far from scarce, but the focus on getting rid of it indicates a misplaced idea that the animal isresponsible for the degradation of the ecosystem.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences voted the pika to be a keystone species andnot a pest. A book of Conservation Biology in Asia has a chapter documenting the deleteriouseffect of pika poisoning. The argument that the pika is a pest, degrading rangeland and