Dr. Zhou Jinfeng gave a keynote speech at the Asia Pacific chapter meeting held at Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province China that happened on the 26th of March 2017.
The topic “Community Based Approach towards the Conservation of China’s Biodiversity” was discussed. He talked about China’s NGO’s effort on biodiversity conservation, and also used the opportunity to enlighten the audience about most of the works and breakthroughs of CBCGDF.
The speech is enlisted as follows:
Community Based Approach towards The Conservation of China’s Biodiversity
- China Biodiversity and its Conservation.
Problems on Biodiversity in China.
China is among the 12 mega-biodiversity countries in the world. Forest cover accounts for 20.36% of the total land area, while the stock volume of forest plantations may be the largest in the world, harboring abundant and diverse wildlife.
- The Current situation of threatened Fauna and flora in China is relatively high
- Threatened Invertebrate (critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species) has a percentage of 34%,
- Threatened Vertebrates accounting for 35.9%
- According to surveys, 3767 species of flora in china are threatened which is 10.9% of higher plants in China.
- Another major problem is the loss of genetic resources
China NGOs Approach To Solving the problems.
To ensure the proper conservation of China’s biodiversity, there have been lots of NGOs who have dedicated their time towards the conservation of these threatened species. One of these NGOs is China Biodiversity Conservation and Green development Foundation (CBCGDF).
The CBCGDF is a 32 years old Organisation which originated from the China Milu Deer Foundation After the reintroduction of milu back to china as a gift from the Duke of Bedford in 1985.
Other than Conserving milu deer, this organization is aimed at ensuring the proper conservation of biodiversity, Environmental protection, and sustainable green development.
The approach applied in conservation is strictly based on the community.
The community play a very large role in biodiversity conservation. The the work of NGOs in local community the people tend to benefit from it in every way. Jobs are provided for the people in the process, alternate form of income are also provided, there is also a conservation of their culture and traditions, and educative programs are also introduced in the local community as well to increase the awareness.
The CBCGDF works based on 8 major areas and each of these areas includes
- Volunteers Efforts,
- Environmental Public interest Litigation (EPIL)
- Traditional Culture Conservation,
- international Collaboration,
- Initiatives, meetings and Callings,
- Green Development,
- Ecology and Poverty Alleviation.
- China/Community Conservation Area for Something at Somewhere (CCAfa)
Created by the CBCGDF, the CCAfa program is a fast, effective low cost approach that brings together a wide range of participants for the identification, establishment and management of protected areas, Drivers for the establishment of CCAfas can come from an array of interested individuals and groups including
- local government,
- social organizations and clubs,
- NGOs and
- members of the general public (also including Volunteers).
The object of protection within the CCAfa program includes
- Species (animals, and plants),
- Ecological systems,
- Cultural heritage, etc.
So far 47 Community Conservation Areas (CCAfa) programs have been establish since the program was initiated in April 2016. This show how fast and efficient the CBCGDF is towards ensuring the conservation of not just Chinese Biodiversity but global biodiversity.
Some of Our CCAfa Programs Includes
- Community Conservation Area for Great Bustards
- Community conservation Area for Waterfowls at Tangshan
- Community Conservation Area for Snow Leopard,
- Community Conservation Area for Old Magu Village
- Community Conservation area for Acer pentaphyllum
- Community conservation Area for Sand martins
- Community conservation Area for Ili Pikas
- Community Conservation Area for Longlin at Xishuangbanna
- Volunteers Efforts
The CBCGDF has had lots of volunteers working tirelessly towards the biodiversity conservation. Their love for nature, the environment and our ecosystem has brought a lot of break through over the years.
You may have heard the story about a HK young rich man named Li Jiahe eating pangolin meals on his business trip to Guangzhou. This was discovered by the CBCGDF wildlife volunteers. This story was a very hot topic of discussion on the internet.
We’re working hard to save pangolins, and we have developed a strategy of four steps earlier this year. This approach shows how strategic and reliable this organization is towards the conservation of endangered species. These strategic steps developed includes the following;
STEP 1: CBBCGDF volunteers fight to curb pangolin consumption.
1. CBCGDF volunteers found people who consumed pangolins for food by analyzing cyber footprints. Currently three people were discovered and successfully identified: a Hongkong young man, who ate pangolin with government officials on his business trip to Guangxi and hit the headline; a Shenzhen young lady who ate pangolins and showed off on her social media; and a Fujian man who ate the animal.
2. CBCGDF supported patrol-based monitoring volunteers at pangolin strongholds and customs. When live pangolins were found by the customs, we urged to send them back to where they were from. For those pangolins with unidentified origins, we sent them to rescue centers.
STEP 2: To help police to find active pangolin vendors and serial criminal.
1. Take prompt actions. For example, when “officials eat pangolins” were identified, we send an official letter to the Chairman of Guangxi Province and ask him to investigate and take action. To further finding out the truth, more CBCGDF volunteers were sent to Guangxi soon after. We assisted local policemen to arrest two vendors selling two pangolins, with one alive and one killed, which uncover the serious problems of illegal poaching and selling chain of pangolins nowadays. The above two stories are widely spreaded.
2. Aims to collating seizure data and trade information, we have applied for disclosure of government information of the storage and use of pangolins in China, collected numeric data from Chinese government officials, customs and other organizations, and have issued a report called A data overview of the pangolin: When is the end of the overuse of pangolin? in July 2016.
STEP 3: To encourage public participation, promote public awareness, and bring Environmental Public Interest Litigations (EPIL) towards violating pharmaceutical companies and restaurants.
1. We have conducted research into four of the largest Chinese medicinal materials market and seven drugstores, based on which we have issued a report about the medicinal use of pangolins. We aim to reduce the demand for pangolins which is necessary to address the main threat to their survival, poaching and illegal trade driven by demand for pangolin meat and scales.
2. Most people don’t know it is illegal to eat pangolins. We are working on raising public awareness about reducing the consumption of pangolins through social media such as Wechat and Sinablog; we delivered speeches at schools and in local communities. We are also planning propagandas for the profile of pangolins and the need for their conservation to children in elementary and secondary schools. As Dr Zhou always says, we’re from the people, by the people, and for the people. With united efforts and supports from the general public, we’re confident that the pangolin species can survive.
3. Protecting pangolins’ strongholds: We are preparing to set up China Conservation Areas (CCAfa) for pangolins in Jiangxi, Anhui, and Hunan Provinces where Chinese pangolins are distributed, so as to organize and convene all the non-governmental forces of China, such as local volunteers from all walks of life and experts in some special fields, to conduct targeted, prompt and sustained approaches to protect pangolins all over China. Meanwhile, we will cooperate with the administrators of established natural reserves to protect, rescue and rehabilitate pangolins. We also plan to do genetic research to learn more about pangolins.
4. In late Feb 2017, the CBCGDF volunteers find two national projects on large-sized pangolin breeding. Are they legal? Volunteers were sent to the breeding sites for investigation. We’re also thinking about an environmental public interest litigation against one of the country’s leading TCM pharmacies.
STEP 4: To promote legislation on pangolin conservation.
1. Political motions. CBCGDF is working on drafting CPPCC motions and seek support from CPPCC members for the upcoming National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference (NPC&CPPCC) in Mar. 2017. Among those motions, there is a draft proposal advising the country to develop a National Strategy for Pangolin Conservation.
2. We are trying to exclude pangolins from the country’s Food and Drug Law, in particular.
Because of the braveness showed by these volunteers, the CBCGDF wants to name them as “Pangolin Heros”, to further spread and encourage people to save pangolins. This is because the fight to save endangered species is not a lone-mans fight, it is a fight better fought together.
Brief pangolin story
CBCGDF wildlife volunteers found on Chinese Micro Bloga young lady showing off eating pangolin. This young lady will soon be arrested by the Shenzhen police department.
Thanks to our volunteers, the topics on pangolin consumption has brought up a very huge discussion on the conservation of this endangered species.
The endemic species of the Chinese Pangolin are critically endangered according to the IUCN realist and due to its rareness, some people believe that it can cure illness, that is why in Guangdong and southern China areas, the demand for pangolins are huge and its even traded on the black market.
After hearing the disturbing large amount of news on the internet about the consumption of Pangolins, CBCGDFs’ Wildlife Protection volunteers and Journalist from Xingjin Newspaper went undercover for 10 days investigating illegal sales of Pangolins in cities like Nanning, Guiling and Kinming and from their investigations, it was observed that it was very easy to purchase a live or frozen pangolin in those 3 cities it also observed that purchasing the pangolin scales was way easier compared to the live or frozen pangolins.
A rescued Pangolin died After Being fed with Concrete to increase its weight, At Nanning China.
In this region our volunteers discovered that pangolins were sold for
Live pangolins 1300RMB/Kg
Frozen pangolins 1000RMB/Kg
Through the help of our volunteers, the police were able to apprehend the illegal pangolin vendors. During this investigation, the police found live pangolin and a frozen one. The live pangolin was sent to a rescue Centre but unfortunately it died because it was fed with concrete to increase the weight.
After that the Volunteers got a clue about another black market in Liuzhou and Guilin.
there he found a man with two live pangolins which he sells for 1720RMB/Kg the Two Pangolins weighed 7.5 kg resulting in a total sum of 12700RMB which the seller wanted payment in cash only.
With the help of our volunteers the lives of these two pangolins were rescued after the Forest police in that region ambushed the vendors.
Dealing with Pangolin sales is a very risky Business
Just recently a mysterious black market for wildlife trade industry chain was discovered by the Zhejiang Police. The investigated and prosecuted a huge network of illegal buying and selling of endangered species.
The sales and distribution of wildlife products was observed to be done based on dealers hierarchy on the distribution chain, Mr. Kan an experienced business man who has been into wildlife trade for over 10 years has been arrested by the police and during his arrest, the police found 137 frozen pangolins and 57 bear hands in his two warehouses accounting for more than 100 million RMB.
According to Mr. Kan, He buys his products from Guangdong and Guangxi Province and resells and distribute the animals to restaurants in Wenzhou Zhejiang province.
The InternetIllegal Trade
Apart from the illegal transactions in Guangxi and Yunnan province, the internet is another important channel for illegal pangolin transactions.
After the recent discovery of the officials cooking pangolins in his office, much pangolin sales information were deleted. But other sources of pangolin sales include:
In Baidu Tieba’s Pangolin Forum, QQ groups focusing on illegal Pangolin sales(with members ranging from 30-1000) were active.
In those groups, there are people asking for baby pangolins also there are people in the same group who have pangolin scales for sale. In private conservations, there are even more people who has live and frozen pangolins for sale. A Netizen called Yangsheng (Alias) stated that he has young pangolins weighing about 1.5kg and sold at the price of 15000 each. He warns the buyer “only domestic pangolin can successfully survive. The wild pangolins which were injected with sand and concrete couldn’t live long”.
Another vendor surnamed Zhang who’s Cantonese with an Internet Nickname “Pangolin scales wanted”, he sent the journalist a picture of his location in Vietnam, he told the journalist that he could deliver the goods by courier service. He also demonstrated a variety of goods at different prices among which pangolin were priced at 5000RMB/kg and Snake wine made of cobra is priced at 10000RMB/bottle and Tusk of an Elephant were sold at 10000RMB/kg.
On February 15th, the journalist contacted another netizen called “Sopoman” who alleged himself as Guizhou resident, his business includes sales of Leadubeater (Chrvsolophus ambherstiae), and his upstream person who has pangolin in stock for sale “Don’t worry these pangolins are from Vietnam and the supply is stable, sometimes the route is from Guangxi and sometimes from Wenshan” said the man
When the journalist asked him how to buy, Sopoman alleged a prepaid method of payment with the price of 3000/kilogram. Plus the customer needed to pay half of the price as deposit. Another alternative is a face-to-face transaction in Guizhou. The journalist said the price is too high and ask if he can directly buy from the upstream person. That man replied, “I pay for 2600/kg I cannot tell you my upstream person”
To the dining table, the sale of one pangolin makes nearly 10000RMB
On the evening of February 10, the new Beijing newspaper journalist contacted someone who sells pangolin scales surnamed Lin. His name card says he’s the lead chef at a restaurant at Shantou
According to Lin, as the lead chef, he has some resources, he also sells pangolin online but he dares not to send the live pangolins so he kills them and chop them to pieces. Whole sized pangolins with scales are prized at 1800RMB/kg. The non-scaled pangolins are prized at 1360RMB/kg. For the less fresh pangolins, the price is cheaper, about 900rmb/kg for the frozen ones, and is not available on Taobao. The transactions can only be done by prepaid way or face-to-face.
A professional in the restaurant industry told the journalist that the most popular wildlife food is the pangolin (commonwatermonitor) and bear paws. Those wildlife are not expensive when they are killed in their native habitat, but after different shipping and transport, when they arrive on the dining table the prices skyrockets. Take pangolin for example, pangolin costs only 700 each in the boarder of China and Vietnam, when it reaches the table, the price increase to nearly 2000RMB/kg. Pangolin usually weighs 6-7kg each and from calculations, a single pangolin can bring an income of about 10000RMB. Commonwatermonitor and Bear Paws are even more expensive, so that the vendor can make more profit from the illegal trade.
- Certificate for volunteers;in order to ensure the safety of our volunteers we offer each and every one of them a volunteer certificate.
Other work of our volunteers include
- Fight against smog,
- Environmental protection folk heroes: This is an award the CBCGDF gives to those who puts in a lot of effort towards and achieved significantly in environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. This is a way we encourage our volunteers and others who love nature and wants to join us in ensuring our environment is conserved properly.
- Environmental Public Interest Litigation (EPIL)
In ensuring the country’s environment and the people’s environmental justice is safeguarded, the CBCGDF has filed a number of cases against environmental polluters. Examples of some of the cases filed includes,
- A case filed on behalf of the plant Acer Pentaphyllum against an hydroelectric power company who might have destroyed this endemic plants habitat, this was our first EPIL case for an endangered plant,
- EPIL against Conoco Philips and CNOOC,
- EPIL again the pollution of Tengger desert,
- EPIL case to protect Cultural relics in Magu Village,
- EPIL against Volkswagen
- EPIL against a manufacturer and Taobao for Air pollution.
- Traditional Culture-and Faith–based Conservation
- Conferences, Innitiatives and Callings,
Say no toRosewood Collection,
Say no to Plastic flower,
Say no to fireworks on Lunar Year Nights,
International Bird Festivals;
2016 Silicon Valley Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (SVIEF)
Initiatives on Protecting elephants from Illegal ivory trade,
Ecological Belt and road initiative (EBRs),
Say No to Inappropriate wildlife release.
- Green Development, Ecology and Poverty Alleviation.
We’ve had several programs and fundraising to help rural communities most especially the children and March 2016 the CBCGDF and Beijing Chaoyang youth federation jointly launched a project called the “ViDays” for rural left-Behind Children. Through this project, college students, artists, volunteers were recruited to go to rural part of china to indulge the little children left at home in those regions with some beautiful arts and other interesting activities.
These are just a tip of the iceberg as we are working towards go out to the world letting them know all our accomplishment, our framework and our effort towards making biodiversity conservation our major priority.
- International Outreach &Cooperation
The CBCGDF has been learning the advanced practices in environmental protection from international society and cooperating with global NGOs and other prestigious organization to promote biodiversity conservation and green development. Some of the cooperation made over the years includes the following:
- Cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on environmental governance and justice (2015-2017);
- Meeting with the Cardinal H.E Theodore McCarrick and Buddhist Master Hsyingyun to discuss on Environmental Protection and conservation;
- Partnership agreement signed with CMS during the 45th Meeting of the CMS standing committee. This agreement acts as a sign to encourage and promote the conservation of migratory species in China.
- International outreach with leading biodiversity organizations such as CBD, WWF, CMS, EAAFP, Birdlife International, ARC, ELI, CITEs, Wetland International and many others
- Concluding note
To commend our efforts, during a meeting with Dr. Jane Goodall, a book called Hope for Animals and their world was given to me as a gift from Jane Goodall and on a page inside the book was written a message saying “Together we can make this a better world for all Life”.
With this message I am calling on each and everyone of you to join us In this fight to make sure the world is a better one for not just the endangered species but for the whole of human race.
Thank you !!!