China has added 517 species to their Wildlife Protection List as part of a brand new campaign to end the illegal wildlife trade following the COVID-19 outbreak. The list includes animals such as the panda, pangolin and Yangtze finless porpoise, which are deemed ‘level one’ protected species.
Teams will work with local governments to also protect the habitats of species added to the list in a bid to reduce habitat destruction as part of the new campaign. Those people to choose to continue to hunt, trade and traffic the protected species face custodial sentences.
The initial outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic was linked to a Wuhan wet-market, known to sell live exotic species, and so China has been attempting to tackle their part in illegal wildlife trade ever since. The country announced a ban on wildlife trafficking and consumption in February 2020, although there were multiple gaps in legislation surrounding Chinese medical practices – a large contributor to the illegal trade. China is believed to have prosecuted more than 15,000 people in relation to wildlife crimes in the first 9 months of 2020.