The China Wildlife Consumption Survey results were released on April 18 2006 in Beijing. The survey results suggest that the percentage of the public eating wild animals has decreased, and the public awareness on wildlife conservation has improved. The government is taking active measures to stop illegal wildlife consumption for the sustainable development of wildlife resources.
China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and WildAid jointly launched the survey from October 2005 to January 2006 in 16 Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai. This is the second survey after CWCA's initial survey in 1999. The goal of the survey is to provide in-depth data and information on the status of wildlife consumption in China and identify public attitudes toward wildlife consumption after SARS and Avian Flu.
Mr. Zhao Shengli, Deputy Secretary General of CWCA introduced that compared to 1999, the percentage of restaurants providing wildlife has decreased by 6.6%, and the percentage of restaurants having the permit to utilize wildlife has also decreased by 11.2%. The percentage of grocery stores selling wildlife products has risen by 22.8% and the percentage of grocery stores owning the permit went up 4.1%. The percentage of wholesale markets selling wildlife increased by 17.7%, and the percentage of markets with the permit to utilize wildlife decreased 8.6%. The wildlife species found in the survey has increased from 53 to 80, but the percentage of species obtained from the wild has decreased 24.5%. Although the number of species obtained from the wild is more than that of farmed species, farmed wild animals are becoming an important source of supply and count for a large part in the quantity of wildlife consumption.
The survey also shows that compared to 1999, the ratio of the public not consuming wildlife has increased by 40.3%. More than 80% of the interviewees know that certain epidemics originated from wild animals, and reduced or stopped eating wild animals. 58.7% of the interviewees are aware that the reduction of wild animals will affect our daily life. Altogether 92.9% of the public think that eating wild animal is either not allowed by law or not a good behavior. 62.6% of the interviewees think that eating wild animals from illegal sources is not safe. Health and nutrition is still one of the major reasons why the interviewees eat wild animals. The awareness of the potential harm to health caused by eating wild animals will most effectively stop the public from eating wild animals.
The government has adopted new measures to stop illegal wildlife consumption. These measures include the policy change from utilizing natural wildlife resources to mainly using farmed wildlife resources; issuing the list of "54 Terrestrial Wildlife Species That May Be Commercially Utilized"; and the marking system of wildlife and their products.
Mr. Steve Trent, President of WildAid said that "while the results of the survey can give some encouragement, we must keep in mind the depth of the challenge that faces the conservation of wildlife, not just in China, but globally. Over 15,500 species are known to face extinction and the likelihood is there are many more which have escaped the notice of scientific study. These include 1 in 3 of all amphibians; half of all freshwater turtles; 1 in 8 bird species and 1 in 4 mammals. 90% of each of the world's large ocean species – like cod, swordfish, halibut – have been lost since the 1950's and others marine species, such as shark, are now subject to a rapid and accelerating decline. If we are to be successful in conserving the wildlife resources that ultimately sustain us all, we must reduce our consumption of wildlife, bringing it under control and within sustainable limits. And as a first, vital step stop, once and for all, the illegal trade in wildlife. WildAid believes China can become a world leader in this endeavour and we encourage all parties to take further, stronger and more effective action toward this end and at the same time pledge our support."
To help protect China's wildlife resources, CWCA and WildAid encourage the public to adopt consumption patterns away from wildlife consumption. In order to better protect China's wildlife resources, capture from the wild needs to be terminated and commercial utilization of endangered and valuable species prohibited. Law enforcement should also be reinforced to eliminate the poaching, smuggling and illegal trade in wildlife.
China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) was established in 1983. It is a nationwide nonprofit organization. The mission of CWCA is to promote the sustainable development of China's wildlife resources. CWCA became an IUCN member in 1984. Until 2001, CWCA has 31 provincial branches and more than 40,000 members.
Founded as a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization, WildAid's mission is to stop the illegal wildlife trade. WildAid is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization headquartered in San Francisco with offices in China, India, Vladivostok, Cambodia, Thailand, Galapagos, Quito, London, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
WildAid and SFA signed the Frame Work for Cooperation in Beijing in August 2005 and formed partnership to promote China's wildlife conservation.