Speakers at an international conference on wildlife trade crimes held in July claimed that illegal trade in wild animals and plants has topped US$10 billion, and is the world third largest source of illegal trade after drugs and guns.
Cao Qingyao, a spokesman for the State Forestry Administration, said Tuesday that China is stepping up protection of endangered wildlife resources.
He told a press conference that a new regulation concerning the import and export of endangered wildlife would come into effect Sept. 1.
The regulation bans the import and export of endangered wild animals and plants and related products for commercial purposes. It also forbids exports of unnamed and newly discovered wild animals and plants.
The spokesman said since signing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1981, China has worked out a series of laws and regulations and set up a "sound" management system to ensure the healthy development of the sector.
He said China's departments of public security, customs, forestry and agriculture had launched a series of campaigns in cooperation with Interpol and other international organizations to combat wildlife crime.
In 2005, public security departments handled 455 cases involving wild animals and confiscated 40,492 wild animals. A total of 736 suspects were detained, he said.
China is still rich in biodiversity. At present, he said, there are 250 bases for saving and breeding wildlife and over 400 centers for conserving and cultivating wild plant species or preserving wild plant genes.
China is also encouraging the artificial breeding of endangered species, he added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2006)