The hard part of banning the consumption of wild animals? Defining them
Turtle soup, rice porridge with frog, snake soup, frog leg clay pot rice – could popular dishes in Chinese cuisine like these be off restaurant menus in China for good? That’s the worry of chefs, food critics and restaurant owners after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top lawmaking body, banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in late February as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The consumption of wild animals has drawn much government scrutiny, as both the current epidemic and the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) have been associated with markets in China selling meat from wild animals. The Sars virus o
When Tigers roamed the concrete jungle of Hong Kong
Should you ever encounter a tiger in Hong Kong, run downhill. The big cat’s front legs are shorter than its hind limbs, its descent will be awkward and give you the edge as you escape. But since the last sightings of the South China tiger in Hong Kong were in the 1970s, that’s unlikely to be necessary. Villagers minding livestock or cutting grass on hillsides, however, would likely have grown up heeding that advice passed down from older generations. Author and graphic designer John Saeki learned about this from a friend whose mother is an elderly villager in Hong Kong’s northeastern New Territories. His friend’s mother had once seen a partially devoured calf, presumably the result of a tige
China’s golden snub-nosed monkey on rebound
The number of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys is on the rebound in central China, according to a recent census at the Shennongjia National Nature Reserve in Hubei province. Researchers found that over the past 15 years, the monkey population increased by 189 to 1,471 in the 80 square miles of habitat the animals occupy in the park.
Finless porpoise deaths highlight vulnerability of the endangered species
Two endangered finless porpoises have been found dead in China in the space of a week, according to media reports. Both were found dead in different parts of the Yangtze River, China’s longest. One body was found in Jiayu county, which is located in the central Chinese province of Hubei, on Monday.  Four days before that, the remains of another porpoise were recovered from Dongting Lake, a large flood basin of the Yangtze River, in Hunan province in central China, news website reported. China’s finless porpoises are classified as extremely endangered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Last year, vice-minister Yu Kangzhen said surveys showed there were 1,012 of the
Rare white lion twins born in China
Rare white lion twins were born at Jinan Wildlife Park in China’s eastern province of Shandong. The twins, one boy and one girl, were born in good health. The twin cubs came into the world the day after the country’s National Day celebrations. The park has three adult white lions in addition to the twins.
One of last four giant softshell turtles in the world has died in China
One of the world’s rarest turtle species moved a step closer to extinction with the death of the last known female of the kind in eastern China over the weekend. The turtle, named Xiangxiang, was the last female Yangtze giant softshell turtle in China. Her death left just three others of the species in the world – a century-old male in the same Chinese zoo in the eastern city of Suzhou and two others of unknown sex in the wild in Vietnam, Suzhou Daily reported. The Yangtze giant softshell turtle is one of the world’s biggest and rarest freshwater turtles. Native to China, the species once thrived along the Yangtze River and in the Red River basin of northern Vietnam. But the number of Yangtz
Celebrity chef in hot water for cooking endangered salamander
“Hi everybody, I'm Wang Gang. Today I will teach you how to make braised salamander.” With that, this Chinese chef famed for his cooking tutorial videos uploaded himself into the center of a debate that highlights an increasing environmental awareness in China. The Chinese giant salamander Wang butchered on film and chopped into pieces is endangered and protected in the wild, but legal to eat if farmed. But by the time Wang clarified in a subsequent video that he had cooked the farmed kind, it was already too late. Critics reacted in disgust and accused Wang of not drawing a distinction between the lizard-like amphibian he butchered on film, with those that face extinction thanks to poachin
100 baby seals stolen for aquariums
The spotted seal is a protected animal in China, known for its shyness and dog-like snout. It’s also the only species of seal that breeds in the country. But what’s special about the slick critters has also led them to their worst enemies: humans. 100 seal cubs in northeast China were abducted around the recent Lunar New Year period, the local government of Dalian said Thursday. That amounts to about half the annual births of the local seal population. In a post to Chinese social media app WeChat, the local authorities said that they had arrested five suspected abductors and recovered 62 of the 100 stolen seal cubs alive. The baby seal heist puts a spotlight on China’s rampant illegal wild
How the fairy bird came back from the brink of extinction
With its red claws and face – plus a large, curved black beak and crest – the crested ibis is known as the “beauty bird” or “fairy bird” in China.  But five decades ago the crested ibis’s future looked bleak. At one point, the entire species around the world was thought to be down to the last six birds.  But thanks to the efforts of dogged Chinese conservationists, it has made a remarkable comeback.  Some 50 years after it was on the brink of extinction, the number of crested ibises in China reached more than 2,600 in January this year. The species is still endangered, but its revival is a conservation success story. Back in the 1960s, things seemed hopeless. The last crested ibis to be spo
Jackie Chan and Yao Ming want you to stop buying shark’s fin
Chinese superstars Jackie Chan and Yao Ming have called on global consumers to quit buying products sourced from wild animals. In billboard ads, they urge people to boycott anything made of ivory, rhino horn or shark fin. ​ The global campaign, a joint effort from conservation organization WildAid and ad company JCDecaux, also features Prince William and Richard Branson. By the end of this year, the ads will be displayed in more than 10 countries. China is a big focus of the campaign. More than 600 billboards featuring former NBA player Yao have already been displayed in Beijing and other major cities. Even though shark fin doesn't taste of anything and contains little nutritional value, it