The Discussion on Malayan Pangolins’ 1: “Repatriation is Difficult, Unable to Release in the Wild", Must They Be Trapped in the Cages?”
2019/6/30 16:04:00 本站

Foreword: Will the live Malayan pangolin rescued by the Customs or the Forest Public Security has the possibility of real life and freedom? In the protection of pangolins that lasted for several years, the China Biodiversity Conservation Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) proposed the view that the pangolin should be released in time, especially the healthy the proposition, especially the healthy individuals, and the foundation has been working hard for it.


However, many people are hesitant and worried about this, including some domestic ambulance center staff, some experts who study pangolin "protection", and some relevant government management departments. In response to this situation, CBCGDF is willing to discuss the issues related to the pangolin rescue and wild release. Since most of the rescued pangolins are Malay pangolins, the rescue and wild release of the pangolins are mainly around Malay pangolins.


Viewpoint 1: It is difficult to repatriate the captured Malayan pangolins, and the other party is not actively receiving them. Therefore, they could not be released.


China joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and became a contracting party. It entered into force in 1982 and became the Vice-Chairman of CITES. At present, all three genera and eight species of pangolins in the world are listed in Appendix I. The basic principles of the Convention for Appendix I are: Appendix I should include all species that are at risk of extinction due to and possibly affected by trade. The trade in specimens of those species must be particularly strictly managed to prevent further harm to their survival...


Therefore, if it is determined that it cannot be released in the wild, it should be in accordance with the measures to be taken by the contracting party under Article 8 of the CITES Convention: repatriation by the original route.


In addition, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Conservation of Wild Animals which came into effect on January 1, 2017, is also related to the relevant regulations of wild release: that is, after the demonstration from the experts, even the alien species can be also decided on how to wild release and where to release.


How could it be called wildlife protection when people keep captive animals all the time, and cannot let them return to nature in China? How to achieve an ecological civilization?


Relevant government administrators explained that in the process of pangolin poaching, criminals often turn around many times to avoid arresting, and they usually keep the live pangolin separated. When Pangolin was caught alive by customs law enforcement officers or forest public security officers, the captured criminals were not the first people who poached pangolin from wild. Therefore, it is difficult for law enforcement officers to find out its origin place and where a specific pangolin came from. In addition, the current global gene pool construction for pangolins is also quite lacking, and there is no mature genetic comparison technology, which can be used by relevant departments to identify their specific origin.


Therefore, under the current technical conditions, relevant researchers can only recognize their identity from species identification, such as whether it is Chinese pangolin, Malay pangolin, or tree pangolin from Africa. Based on its species distribution, it can be roughly inferred which countries it comes from. For instance, Malay pangolins are mainly distributed in Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Then, according to the location of the pangolins seized and the source from the suspects, can those recovered healthy pangolins get released? "Initiating the international repatriation process usually requires the source country to receive and transport these stolen species, and then to be responsible for a series of work such as safety isolation, immunization and epidemic prevention, and release assessment. Therefore, those countries with international origin distribution are also not actively receiving wild species that are returned,” the relevant government officials have explained.


Being inactive is by no means equivalent to being infeasible or completely unreasonable.


In August 2017, Guangxi Wildlife Rescue Center under Guangxi Forestry Department (now renamed Guangxi Forestry Bureau) received a batch of 34 pangolins captured by the local customs, in which 2 were dead and 32 were living. After understanding the information, the pangolin working group from CBCGDF contacted Guangxi forestry authorities for the first time and contacted Vietnamese pangolin rescue experts, hoping to rescue the living pangolins together. Even in terms of repatriation, through the coordination and communication from CBCGDF, Vietnamese parties have agreed to take the relevant costs and accept the return of pangolins. However, in the end, Guangxi's forestry authorities refused the help of Vietnamese experts and the repatriation was terminated. Those 32 living pangolins eventually died in less than two months.


"If it is to truly practice ecological civilization, with the starting point for saving pangolins and finding a way for pangolins to survive, then international repatriation may be feasible." “Even if some individual countries in the world who are unwilling to take the costs of receiving the original species of repatriation, CBCGDF is willing to fund-raising in the public to provide repatriation funds for them”, said by Zhou Jinfeng, secretary-general of CBCGDF. He also believes that Chinese people in now-days already have such ecological civilization consciousness, and can take the initiative to assume this responsibility when truly practicing the community of human destiny.


According to the preliminary statistics of CBCGDF, the number of Malay pangolins seized by various customs and forest public security authorities in China has reached nearly 1,000 each year. All three genera and eight species of pangolins are globally endangered species and are the most threatened mammals in the world. Therefore, all pangolins are listed in Appendix I by the CITES Convention, prohibiting international trade, and China is the main import destination for the illegal trade of pangolins world widely.


(Photo source: Internet)

Original Chinese article:

By / Xue Tongtong