By Michael Appel
As South Africa’s rhino poaching statistics rapidly approach the 800 mark, awareness campaigns in China around stopping shark finning could inadvertently be a positive development for Africa’s rhinos and elephants under a poaching barrage.
The Conservation Action Trust says recent awareness campaigns in China regarding the onslaught on sharks is encouraging news for advocates of non-trade solutions to the elephant and rhino poaching crisis across Africa.
Research conducted by WildAid and Chinese government agencies shows demand for shark fin soup in Chinese restaurants has dropped substantially due to the success of demand-reduction campaigns and strong action by the Chinese government.
Executive director of WildAid Peter Knights said: “People said it was impossible to change China, but the evidence we are now getting says consumption of shark fin soup in China is down by 50% to 70% in the last two years. It is a myth that people in Asia don’t care about wildlife. Consumption is based on ignorance rather than malice.”
These results are extremely significant as they disprove the arguments of pro-trade lobbyists who continue to claim that demand reduction campaigns will not work.
Chinese sports stars, business leaders and other celebrities teamed up with WildAid for a two-year awareness and education programme which focused on the implications for sharks of eating shark fin soup.
The Chinese government has also played a crucial role in driving down demand by banning this once sought-after delicacy from restaurant menus. More....