Chinese officials have said they are ready to consider requests for bilateral partnerships on conservation from African nations.
The disclosure was made at a press briefing in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on May 5, 2017, by forestry and wildlife officials. During the briefing, Wang Weisheng, Deputy Director General for Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserves Management in the State Forestry Administration, said officials were recently sent to different African nations to warn Chinese businesses against involvement in wildlife trafficking. Chinese nationals on visit in Africa are also reminded through text messages not to buy ivory and rhinoceros products.
Wang Weisheng disclosed that China was the only country in the world to date that imposes life sentences for certain categories of wildlife offences. As a result of these efforts, the numbers of animal species have increased over the years as pressure from poachers has been considerably curbed, officials said. According to Weisheng, China believes that effectively fighting the illegal trade in wildlife requires the joint efforts of all nations. He stressed the need to pay more attention to the livelihoods of local people involved in poaching, guard against the publication of misleading information and the politicisation of wildlife issues.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director General of the China Wildlife Conservation Association, Guo Lixin, said China has signed bilateral cooperation deals on wildlife conservation with Kenya and Tanzania and was also offering them additional anti-poaching equipment. She stated the readiness of China to enter into wildlife conservation partnerships with individual African nations. Officials spoke of recent efforts in China to ensure better nature conservation through review of legislation, stepping up public education, monitoring at entry ports, protection of endangered species and punishing offenders.
The government of Cameroon last December announced a ban on ivory imports and an end to trade in ivory products by the end of December 2017. Many believe that Cameroon’s partnership with China will help ensure the protection of endangered species and assist government to combat poaching.