China’s Biodiversity Takes A Beating – Dinah Gardner

Notwithstanding its protection of charismatic megafauna (i.e., big charming animals like the panda), China has done a terrible job preserving . With the Chinese River Dolphin (ÁôΩȱÄ˱ö ) now functionally extinct, Asia Times comes through with an informative summary of the country’s failure to protect animal life within its borders:

China has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, yet its number of species is declining at a frightening rate. The Swiss-based IUCN picked out mainland China, along with Mexico, Brazil and Australia, as being homes to “particularly large numbers of threatened” animals and plants. Worldwide, it listed 16,306 species as being under threat – almost 800 of them in China.

But it’s not just animal lovers and environmentalists who should be worried about the trend, argue conservation groups. Beijing should be concerned about the heavy economic costs linked to biodiversity loss and the fact that its political infrastructure is ill-equipped to halting that trend. [Full Text]

The article pegs responsibility on the usual suspect”China’s appetite for exotic meat”but takes the analysis a level deeper with an interesting discussion of the inter-ministerial conflicts that have impeded the creation of a new species protection law.

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