Yes. It is a strong claim to say the China fuels the demise of the elephant and rhino. Unfortunately one side effect of an ever increasing middle-class and rich sectors in Chinese society is that the long held belief amongst Chinese is that the horns or tusks of the two animals are thought to have much desired ‘health’ qualities. However in the past, only the rich could afford these ‘products,’ meaning that the overall effect on the animals was less. Now it seems that it is open slather on the animals of Africa as demand increases along with China’s influence in the area.
Latest figures claim that nearly 35,000 elephants were slaughtered last year and only the tusks were taken, leaving the remainder of the carcass to rot in the hot African sun. Kenya particularly suffered huge losses in its elephant population, leaving the prospect of the elephant being extinct in the near future.
Kenya and other countries have fought this illegal trade but their resources are limited and it appears that they are losing the battle. Even China has made the trade illegal but as with many moves by the Chinese Government to curb ‘illegal actions’ (take ‘rip-off copies of a large range of products for example) they have a long way to go. China is also increasing its reach into Africa and it is not hard to find Chinese traders buying up many ‘threatened’ products, right under the nose of African officials. No doubt money changes hands to smooth the process.
What needs to happen is that the ‘market,’ therefore the need for such products needs to be curbed at the point of delivery---the huge and growing market in China (and other predominately Asian countries).There is an ever increasing Green movement in China and it this that the Chinese Government needs to tap into. There would be a vast number of Chinese how find the trade in ivory repugnant.
The question needs to be asked---‘what will China think as a nation when and if the time comes where the only place we will be able to see the elephant and rhino will be in a zoo?’ Of course I am not so narrow-minded to claim that the ‘West’ in beyond criticism re the disappearance of other animals from the wild. My hope is that China joins the move to retain our animal ‘co-inhabitants of this place we call ‘earth.’