and continuous significant seizures illustrate the lucrative nature of illegal trade driven by a strong demand in China. In dealing with the domestic methods of pangolin utilization, the different policies China has taken are undoubtedly objective and impartial. As an important component of 5000-year-old Chinese culture, TCM has been playing a crucial role in securing the public health, and hence is deeply rooted among its people. Therefore, TCMs containing pangolin scales have been widely accepted in China, thanks to both their practical curative effects and the psychological receptivity they have generated among the Chinese through hundreds of year’s application. Under the circumstances of nearly depleted pangolin resources, China has taken strict measures to regulate and control the trade in pangolin scales for medicinal use, while respecting the needs for preserving the traditional culture. As for food consumption of pangolin meat as a tonic, extensive educational campaigns should be launched, as supplementary measures to the prohibitive administrative provisions, to encourage the public to foster a civilized dietetic concept. China’s newly adopted trade control policies for pangolins, with focus on restriction to the use and labeling system, will be definitely providing a substantial basis for inter- agency coordination and co-operation in a joint effort to curb the illegal domestic trade in pangolins. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the detailed operational mechanisms need to be further improved, among which a Chain-of-Custody (CoC) covering the whole procedure from verification of legal-sourced stockpiles to processing and circulation is given top priority. Meanwhile, a standardized approach for measuring the pangolin scales contained in medicines, an integral part of the labeling system, should be urgently introduced to ensure the effective monitoring of actual consumption in this area. Also, the R&D programmes on captive breeding for pangolin species and substitutes for pangolin scales in medicinal use should be taken into consideration, in order to alleviate the demand pressure on the wild population of pangolins. China is still facing huge challenges in combating cross-border pangolin smugglings. Well-organized criminal network, porous border crossings with neighbouring countries and lack of timely information exchange and verification among various agencies, all these factors impose serious negative impacts upon effective law enforcement actions. In addition, China’s co-operative efforts with other CITES Parties need to be further strengthened, with more emphasis given to improved communication and exchange of intelligence information, since the inter-regional co-operation between producing and consuming countries is vital in coping with illegal cross-border trade in pangolins.
- Spring '14