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China increases wildlife protection with list revision

Updated: Feb 06,2021 14:28    Xinhua

BEIJING — China on Feb 5 announced its first major revision in 32 years of its list of endangered wild animals as a further step toward wildlife conservation and increasing biodiversity.

Based on changes in wildlife resources and the latest research results, China added another 517 species and classes of animals to the list of State-protected wildlife. The new list now includes 980 species and eight categories of wild animals, said a statement jointly released by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Under its two-tier protection system for wildlife under state protection, the country will elevate the conservation of 65 types of wild animals to the highest level, the statement said.

The move indicates that these endangered species, such as jackal and the Yangtze finless porpoise, will be under the strictest level-one protection.

China will also reduce the protection level for three species of wild animals due to their stable populations and relatively wide distribution.

With the revision as guidance, the country will impose stricter measures on wildlife conservation. It will urge local governments to protect the habitats where listed endangered animals live, the statement said.

China will also toughen crackdowns on illegal wildlife trade and the consumption of wild animals, it added.

The revision came after China rolled out protection measures for various types of natural habitats in recent years. It demonstrates the country's determination to prioritize ecological protection in its policymaking.

The latest progress is implementing a "forest chief" scheme to restore forests and grasslands. Under this scheme, to be launched nationwide by June 2022, the country will appoint forest chiefs in all provincial-level regions whose responsibilities are protecting forest and grassland resources.

The country is setting up a national park system to protect ecosystems and endangered animals. Accordingly, it has piloted 10 national parks, including national parks for giant pandas, with the total pilot area topping 220,000 square km.

Aiming at protecting aquatic wildlife, a 10-year fishing ban that covers all key waters of the Yangtze River came into effect on Jan 1. The move will help the country's longest waterway recover from shrinking aquatic resources and biodiversity.

With a new development philosophy that emphasizes high-quality development, the country has also embarked on a shift to green development, constituted by the coordination between economic growth and ecological protection.

Having learned lessons from its past that economic growth should not come at the cost of the environment and ecology, the country is unfolding a landscape where "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets."

Looking ahead, China is forging cooperation with other nations in mapping out a blueprint for a greener future shared by all species. Later this year, China will host the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The event will review the post-2020 biodiversity framework and set new global biodiversity targets for 2030.