"China has reversed its decision to ban the trade of rhino horns and tiger bones. There is no official information except a cabinet notice that relates to controlling trade in such items, which will be restricted. One condition is that they must be of products taken from farmed animals, and will be meant for use in "medical research or in healing."

Sky News reports that conservationists feel it will have serious repercussions for the endangered species. The number of tigers in the wild is slightly less than 4000 and the global population of wild rhinos, not native to China, is nearly 30,000.

China had banned the sale of these products in 1993. The aim of this move, as explained by China, is to fill the gaps in existing legislation.

China defends the move

China has defended the decision, arguing that the change aims to plug loopholes in past regulations, and reiterated that it believes in extending protection to endangered species. It has also said that there will be strict control on the volume of trade.

However, conservationists do not buy that argument. In their opinion, it will open up the doors for farmed trade to flourish.

Iris Ho, a wildlife protection specialist at the Humane Society, interprets this as a roundabout way for “illegal tiger bone and rhino horn to enter the marketplace.” The decision will endanger the lives of animals in the wild.

Incidentally, the Environmental Investigation Agency, a UK based charity, feels the decision to lift the ban will not make a huge difference. China already has tiger farms and they harvest tiger bones and sell them.

Reversal of the 25-year-old ban stuns the world

Margaret Kinnaird, WWF Wildlife Practice leader, sees the lifting of the ban as a matter of concern.

She feels it will promote trade in tiger bone and rhino horn, which will have serious consequences. According to Mirror UK, the country had banned trade in these commodities in 1993 and its reversal will remove the protective cover. The traditional Chinese medicine pharmacopeia had dropped both items in 1993. Subsequently, in 2010, the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies urged members to stop using body parts from endangered species. Later, in 2017, China imposed a ban on the sale of ivory. It was a huge victory for Prince William because it was a campaign to check poaching of animals in Africa. He had urged people not to buy ivory. There is an international ban on this item since 1990, but China and some other countries permit domestic trade.