Banned: No more pangolin scales in traditional medicine, China declares

by Elizabeth Claire Alberts on 10 June 2020

  • The Chinese government has banned pangolin scales from use in traditional Chinese medicine, and elevated pangolins to be a level one protected species within China.
  • Conservationists say they believe this move will completely shut down the commercial trade of pangolin parts within China and slow the international trade of the species.
  • Pangolins are one of the most widely trafficked animals in the world, despite being protected under CITES Appendix I, which bans most international trade.

The Chinese government has officially removed pangolin scales from a list of approved ingredients in traditional medicine, a momentous move that could bring an end to the large-scale illegal trade in the scaly anteaters, conservationists say.

The eight species of pangolins are together one of the most widely trafficked animals in the world, with more than a million individuals traded since 2000, according to a CITES report. In 2019 alone, more than 97 tons of scales from more than 150,000 African pangolins were intercepted by authorities, according to data collected by the African Pangolin Working Group.

Pangolins are one of the most trafficked species in the world. Image by Paul Hilton for WildAid.

“That’s only the scales that are intercepted, which is only about 10% of the trade, so you can imagine how many pangolins are being traded on the African continent,” Ray Jansen, chairman of the African Pangolin Working Group and member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Pangolin Specialist Group, told Mongabay.

This trade has persisted despite pangolins being a protected species under CITES Appendix I, which prohibits all international trade except in extraordinary circumstances. However, CITES does not regulate the commercial trade of the species within a country, which is why the sale of pangolin parts has persisted in China.

The delisting of pangolins for use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which was reported on June 9 by media outlet China Health Times, follows the Chinese State Forestry and Grassland Administration’s (SFGA) announcement that pangolins are now a national level one protected species in China. That gives pangolins the same protection as a species listed under CITES Appendix I, says Steve Blake, the chief China representative for WildAid.

Pangolin scales seized in Cameroon. Image by Keith Cameron/USFWS via Wikicommons (CC BY 2.0)
Pangolin scales seized in Cameroon. Image by Keith Cameron / USFWS via Wikicommons (CC BY 2.0)

This news follows the Chinese government imposing a ban on the consumption of wildlife and moving to shut down existing wildlife farms in several Chinese provinces. Those actions, in turn, were precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, believed to have started at a wildlife market in Wuhan.

Blake said he welcomes the news of pangolins being delisted for TCM, which he said will lead to a termination of the legal trade of pangolin products in China.

“More details are yet to come on the products already on the market or how long legal sales will still be available, but it’s only a matter of time now,” he told Mongabay. “And when they are all illegal it sends a very clear signal to both the consumer and enforcement officers, leaving no room for confusion or laundering illegal products. It is a very significant step in curbing the pangolin trade. It’s a very similar situation to what happened in 1993 when tiger bone and rhino horn were removed, recognizing that the use of these products in the practice is not sustainable with such rapidly depleting populations, and that there are many viable alternatives available.”

A baby Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis). Image by Gregg Yan.

But it’s doubtful the trade will end overnight, Blake said, adding that more work is required to enforce these new rules.

“There needs to be a combination of clearer regulations, stronger enforcement, and stronger public awareness to effectively end these wildlife consumption issues,” he said. “All three of these are headed in the right direction, but just last year alone saw authorities around the world seize 130 tons of pangolin products. This is enormous. There needs to be even more initiatives to reduce demand and punish illegal sales to end this trade. But these two recent announcements from China will help with that tremendously.”

Pangolin scales are widely used in TCM based on the belief that they have special medicinal and spiritual qualities, despite only consisting of keratin, the same substance that makes up human hair and fingernails. The scales are ground up into a powder and sold in more than 60 different commercial products in China, according to Jansen, who works with the South African government to monitor the trade.

Pangolin. Image by Paul Hilton for WildAid.

“Banning pangolin scale powder out of Chinese pharmacopoeia means literally that there is and will be no more demand,” Jansen said.

He added he doesn’t believe the pangolin trade will “go underground” following the announcement.

“Once it’s banned, I think it’s going to be very, very difficult to make it commercially available in China because it [TCM] is almost like Western medicine and regulated,” he said. “So it’s a massive turning point in terms of the conservation of all eight species of pangolins.”

Banner image caption: A baby pangolin holding onto its mother. Image by Paul Hilton for WildAid.

Elizabeth Claire Alberts is a staff writer for Mongabay. Follow her on Twitter @ECAlberts.

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New York Legislation Would Ban Live Animal Markets To Control Spread of Disease

  1. May 5, 2020

NEW YORK—In an effort to control the spread of infectious diseases, live animal markets might soon be banned in New York. A new bill, introduced by Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), would immediately prohibit the operation of live animal markets in New York, effectively suspending current live markets’ operations and preventing further licenses for such markets from being issued.

“In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has ravaged New York and changed life for millions of New Yorkers,” says Assembly Member Rosenthal. “As policymakers, we have a responsibility to respond to this crisis by doing everything in our power to prevent the next pandemic. Closing New York’s live animal markets, which operate in residential neighborhoods and do not adhere to even the most basic sanitary standards, until we determine whether they can be made safe, is a vital first step.”

Doctors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a nonprofit of more than 12,000 doctors—applaud the legislation for promoting public health and aiming to prevent the spread of future viruses.

COVID-19 appears to have originated in bats and passed to humans via live animal markets. Previously, other coronavirus outbreaks have also spread through animals sold in live markets. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2002–2003 originated in horseshoe bats, passing through civets sold for meat to humans.

The legislation could also help stop the spread of new strains of influenza A, an avian virus. Beginning with the 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic (if not before), all influenza A outbreaks have come originally from bird viruses that have found their way into domesticated animal populations and, from there, into farmworkers, their contacts, and the broader community. The H1N1 virus killed millions of people.

“Avoiding future pandemics like the COVID-19 global crisis requires a total ban on live markets, including the 80 in New York City alone,” says Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, president of the Physicians Committee. “Poultry flocks are breeding grounds for influenza A viruses, and live animal markets are the source of coronavirus.”

New York City has the greatest number of live bird markets, compared with other U.S. cities, according to the New York State Consumer Protection Board. Inspection reports from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets show ongoing health, safety, and welfare problems in New York’s live animal markets.

The bill would also create a seven-person task force who would conduct examinations of the shutdown markets for potential public health risks. The members would have expertise in infectious diseases, with a focus on the potential spread of disease between animals and humans. They would report their findings within a year of its first meeting and include a recommendation for further action.


Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

Colorado becomes sixth U.S. state to outlaw cruel and unsporting wildlife killing contests



Parks and Wildlife Commission votes to end competitive killing of coyotes, foxes, prairie dogs and other species for prizes

DENVER, CO—A coalition of leading wildlife protection organizations is applauding the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission for their vote today to ban wildlife killing contests for furbearer and certain small game species in the state. Colorado is now the sixth state in the country to ban these cruel events.

The proposal, advanced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and approved today by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, prohibits killing contests that target species including mink, pine marten, badger, red fox, gray fox, swift fox, striped skunk, western spotted skunk, beaver, muskrat, long-tailed weasel, short-tailed weasel, coyote, bobcat, opossum, ring-tailed cat, raccoon, as well as Wyoming ground squirrel. Species also include white-tailed, black-tailed and Gunnison’s prairie dogs.

Upon enactment, this new regulation will put an end to events such as the High Desert Predator Classic in Pueblo, the Song Dog Coyote Hunt in Keenesburg, and the San Luis Valley Coyote Calling Competition. Winners of wildlife killing contests often proudly post photos and videos on social media that show them posing with piles of dead coyotes and other animals, often before disposing of the animals in “carcass dumps” away from the public eye.

“Participants of wildlife killing contests often use unsporting and cruel techniques—such as calling devices that mimic the sound of prey or even pups in distress—so that they can lure shy coyotes and other animals to shoot at close range,” said Aubyn Royall, Colorado state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We thank[http://?] Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Commission for taking decisive action to ensure that Colorado no longer supports such barbaric and wasteful killing of its treasured wildlife.”

“Colorado’s ban, which is supported by the best scientific data available, is one of the strongest in the country,” said Johanna Hamburger, wildlife attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute. “The state has now joined multiple fish and wildlife agencies and commissions in concluding that these contests compromise the effective management of wildlife populations, fail to increase game populations and harm ecosystems.”  

Colorado joins five other states—California, Vermont, New Mexico, Arizona and Massachusetts—that have taken a stand against cruel, unsporting and wasteful wildlife killing contests. California banned the awarding of prizes for killing furbearing and nongame mammals in 2014; New Mexico and Vermont outlawed coyote killing contests in 2019 and 2018, respectively; and Arizona and Massachusetts prohibited killing contests that target predator and furbearer species in late 2019.

“Wildlife killing contests are a bloodsport just like dogfighting and cockfighting, which have been outlawed nationwide,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “We commend Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Commission for relegating these ecologically and ethically indefensible events to the history books.”

“The majority of Coloradans respect and value wildlife and this step forward by our state wildlife department in line with those values,” said Lindsay Larris, Wildlife Program Director for WildEarth Guardians.  “We look forward to seeing CPW to continue to advance policies that reflect the importance of wildlife protection to all people in Colorado.” 

“Recognizing that all species play an important role in their ecosystem,” said Stephanie Harris, senior legislative affairs manager for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, “we commend Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Commission for this forward-thinking, science-based decision to prohibit the senseless slaughter inherent to killing contests.”

“We’re thrilled that Colorado is banning these wasteful wildlife killing contests,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Coyotes and other carnivores play such important ecological roles but had been mercilessly targeted by these barbaric events. Today’s decision by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a big win for Colorado’s coyotes, and we’re celebrating.”

Delia Malone from the Colorado Sierra Club said, “All native wildlife species are essential. Ecology and ethics require that we protect all native species–including species that have historically been vilified or dismissed as unimportant. Natives such as coyotes and prairie dogs contribute to healthy, viable, resilient ecosystems, and deserve our respect and our protection. We are gratified that Colorado Parks and Wildlife has chosen conservation.”

Wildlife agencies and professionals across the country have expressed concerns about killing contests because they reflect poorly on responsible sportsmen and sportswomen. In 2019 alone, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted to prohibit these gruesome killing contests, citing the grave damage that such events could inflict on the image of hunting in their states. Wildlife management professionals have also noted that wildlife killing contests contravene modern, science-based wildlife management principles. In 2018, more than 70 renowned conservation scientists issued a statement citing peer-reviewed science that refutes claims that indiscriminately killing coyotes permanently limits coyote populations, increases the number of deer or other game species for hunters, or reduces conflicts with humans, pets or livestock. In fact, randomly shooting coyotes disrupts their pack structure, leading to increases in their populations and more conflicts. Nonlethal, preventive measures are most effective at reducing conflicts with wildlife.

Wildlife killing contests are also destructive to healthy ecosystems, within which all wildlife species play a crucial role. Coyotes and other targeted species help to control rabbit and rodent populations and restrict rodent- and tick-borne disease transmission. And prairie dogs are an important keystone species in Colorado’s ecosystem, providing essential food and digging underground tunnels used by other native wildlife.

California Court Approves Ban on Federal Wildlife Poisoning, Trapping

Restrictions Aim to Protect Rare Tricolored Blackbirds, Beaver, Gray Wolves

SAN FRANCISCO— In response to a lawsuit filed by wildlife advocacy groups, a federal animal-killing program must restrict its use of bird-killing poisons in Northern California and stop setting strangulation snares and other traps in places like the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

The agreement, approved today by a San Francisco federal court, also directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to analyze the environmental impacts of its killing of coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and other wildlife in California’s “Sacramento District.” This 10-county region covers Colusa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

“This victory will save hundreds of animals that would have needlessly suffered and died in traps set by Wildlife Services over the next several years,” said Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney representing the conservation groups involved in the lawsuit. “It’s another important win in our fight to shut down this agency’s destructive and indiscriminate war on bobcats, coyotes and other wildlife.”

Under the court order approved today, Wildlife Services must provide, by the end of 2023, an “environmental impact statement” that analyzes the effects and risks of its wildlife-killing program in the Sacramento District. It must also offer opportunities for public input.

Pending completion of that study, the court order imposes several measures to protect wildlife in the 10-county area. For example, it restricts use of the avicide DRC-1339 to prevent accidental poisoning of state-threatened tricolored blackbirds. It also bans any use of body-gripping traps, such as strangulation snares, in several areas.

The court order further ends most beaver-killing in waterways where endangered wildlife depends on beaver-created habitats. The order also spells out several measures to protect California’s endangered gray wolves from being accidentally killed in traps set for other carnivores.

“We are pleased that Wildlife Services has agreed to consider the environmental impacts of its wildlife-killing program,” said Cristina Stella, an attorney at the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Wild animals in California deserve our protection, and this victory assures that they will be free from some of the cruelest killing practices until Wildlife Services complies with federal law.”

“This agreement will ensure greater transparency and accountability from a federal agency that has run roughshod over America’s wildlife for far too long,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote executive director. “Many cost effective, non-lethal solutions exist to address human-wildlife conflicts that are more humane, ecologically sound and ethically defensible. We are hopeful that this settlement will propel a shift in this direction statewide.”

Today’s victory is the result of a lawsuit filed in August 2019 by the Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Project Coyote.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services is a multimillion-dollar federal program that uses painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and aerial gunning to kill coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals. Most of the killing is in response to requests from the agriculture industry.

In 2018 Wildlife Services reported killing nearly 1.5 million native animals nationwide. That year, in California, the program reported killing 26,441 native animals, including 3,826 coyotes, 859 beavers, 170 foxes, 83 mountain lions and 105 black bears. The 5,675 birds killed in 2018 in California included blackbirds, ducks, egrets, hawks, owls and doves.

Today’s victory follows several other recent wins by wildlife advocates in their campaigns against Wildlife Services, including in California (2019 and 2017), Oregon (2018), Colorado (2017), Arizona (2017), Idaho (2019 and 2018) and Wyoming (2019).

# # #

Project Coyote is a national nonprofit organization and a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. For more information, visit

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit

Shenzhen becomes first Chinese city to ban consumption of cats and dogs

Chinese animal rights activists stage a protest calling for people to refrain from eating cats and dogs.

(CNN)Shenzhen, in southeastern China, has become the first city in the country to ban the consumption of cats and dogs, the government announced Thursday.

Under new rules which will come into effect May 1, the government said it will be illegal to eat animals raised as pets.
In February, following the coronavirus outbreak, China passed a law to ban the consumption of wild animals.
Now Shenzhen will prohibit the consumption of state-protected wild animals and other terrestrial wild animals taken from the wild, as well as captive-bred and farmed terrestrial wild species.
In addition, the consumption of animals raised as pets, such as cats and dogs will also be banned.
Animals that can be consumed include pig, cattle, sheep, donkey, rabbit, chicken, duck, goose, pigeon, quail, as well as aquatic animals who are not banned by other laws or regulations.
“If convicted, they will be subjected to a fine of 30 times of the wild animal’s value, if the animal is above the value of 10,000CNY [$1400 USD],” announced authorities.
The coronavirus outbreak is thought to have started at a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and authorities have acknowledged they need to bring the lucrative wildlife industry under control if it is to prevent another outbreak.
However ending the trade will be hard. The cultural roots of China’s use of wild animals run deep, not just for food but also for traditional medicine, clothing, ornaments and even pets.
This isn’t the first time Chinese officials have tried to contain the trade. In 2003, civets — mongoose-type creatures — were banned and culled in large numbers after it was discovered they likely transferred the SARS virus to humans. The selling of snakes was also briefly banned in Guangzhou after the SARS outbreak.
But today dishes using the animals are still eaten in parts of China.

Chinese government approves decision to ban consumption of wild animals

 February 24, 2020

Guards patrol on January 24 outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, believed to be the source of the virus.
Guards patrol on January 24 outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, believed to be the source of the virus. Credit: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

China’s top political body approved the decision on Monday to ban the consumption and the illegal trade of wild animals, which some experts believe to be the source of the virus.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved the ban on Monday in a bid to help “safeguard public health and ecological security,” according to Chinese state media.

The move aims to “completely ban the eating of wild animals” while also “cracking down on illegal trade of wildlife,” state media reports.

The use of wild animals for scientific research, medicine and exhibition will now need to go through “strict examination and approval” by the supervising department in accordance with relevant regulations.

This comes after Chinese authorities suspended the trade of wild animals on January 26th in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

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France to ban culling of unwanted male chicks by end of 2021

A chick stands among eggs being hatched inside an incubator at the Agriculture Fair in Paris in February 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionAn estimated seven billion unwanted male chicks are killed each year

France has pledged to outlaw the practice of culling unwanted male chicks by the end of 2021, as part of animal welfare reforms.

About seven billion male chicks – not wanted for meat or eggs – are killed around the world each year, usually in shredding machines or by gas.

The government said new methods were emerging that would make it possible to test the sex of embryos inside the egg.

But some campaigners said the reforms did not go far enough.

What are the changes in France?

French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume announced the reforms at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday.

“From the end of 2021, nothing will be like it was before,” he said.

Mr Guillaume said he hoped a method would soon be developed that would allow the gender of a chick to be determined before it had hatched.

Researchers have been working on the issue for years, but are yet to come up with a solution that works on an industrial scale.

The 2021 ban will make France one of the first countries to outlaw the practice of culling male chicks. A ban in Switzerland came into effect earlier this year, while a top court in Germany has ruled that the practice can continue on a temporary basis until an alternative can be found.

France and Germany last year said they would work together to put an end to mass chick culling.

Mr Guillaume also announced on Tuesday that the practice of castrating piglets without anaesthesia would be banned by the end of 2021.

Castration is performed to prevent “boar taint” – a potent smell or taste that can occur in the meat of non-neutered pigs. Several countries have already made the use of anaesthesia obligatory.

How widespread is male chick culling?

The mass-killing of male chicks shortly after birth is common practice in food production around the world.

For the billions of hens used in egg and poultry farming every year, a similar number of male chicks are killed shortly after birth.

Male chicks are viewed in the industry as commercially useless, because they grow more slowly than hens so are deemed unsuitable for meat production.

After sorting, the most common methods of killing involve asphyxiation by gassing or maceration in high-speed grinders.

What has the response been?

Many animal rights activists welcomed the changes in France but said they did not go far enough.

They are “a step in the right direction, but still inadequate”, Anissa Putois of the campaigning group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) told AFP news agency.

French animal protection group L214 said the measures were “not ambitious” and “do not address the basic problems”.

“There is nothing on slaughter conditions, nor on how to exit from intensive animal farming,” it said, according to AFP.

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Germany, France push to end male chick ‘shredding’ in European Union

France and Germany are calling for an end to male chick culling.
 France and Germany are calling for an end to male chick culling. Canadian Press
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Germany and France are teaming up to push for the end of male chick shredding in the European Union by the end of 2021.

Agriculture ministers Julia Klöckner of Germany and Didier Guillaume of France announced their plans to help press this issue further during a Monday meeting in Germany.

“It’s time to end the shredding of chicks. France and Germany should be the European motor to advance on this issue,” Guillaume said, according to France24.

Shredding refers to the act of killing male chicks shortly after they hatch. This practice occurs in many poultry businesses because male chicks don’t produce eggs and generate less meat than their female counterparts.

READ MORE: New York City passes bill banning sale of foie gras [2019]

The two European countries hope to bring together industry groups, companies, researchers and campaign groups to “share scientific knowledge” and “implement alternative methods,” France24 reports.


“We welcome this scheme and the fact that non-governmental organizations are involved, but we expect clear regulatory commitments,” Agathe Gignoux of CIWF, a French NGO, said.

In 2009, the Associated Press reported U.S. egg producers euthanize 200 million male chicks per year. According to AP, Chicago-based animal rights organization Mercy for Animals videotaped male chicks being ground up alive while undercover in Iowa hatchery Hy-Line North America that same year.

The same practice appears to occur in Canada, too, though the Canadian government has announced recent changes in an effort to minimize this waste.

Jean-Michel Laurin, president and CEO of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, told Global News that the industry has been working towards eliminating the euthanizing of male chicks.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a cold scary trip’: Tabby cat travels more than 80 km hiding in truck engine

“This requires a great deal of research, which has been occurring worldwide and includes Canadian-based research which has been active for about 10 years,” he said. “Currently, stakeholders in Canadian industry have made significant investments to bring us beyond the research trial phase.”

“Our industry is committed to continually improving practices. Farmers, hatcheries and others in the supply chain have demonstrated, over generations, their desire to improve and to respond to change.”


He added that the National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Chickens, Turkeys and Breeders lists several methods to euthanize day-old chicks and emphasizes that in all circumstances, the termination of life must be instantaneous.

Toronto Chick-fil-A launch draws customers and demonstrators

Toronto Chick-fil-A launch draws customers and demonstrators

In 2018, then-Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced an $844,000 investment would go towards developing an electronic scan to determine a bird’s sex and fertility of eggs prior to hatching, Poultry World reported.

This would mean male eggs could be sold before hatching, which would increase capacity and efficiency of Canadian hatcheries and ultimately end male chick culling.

“The Canadian egg industry is driving our economy and creating good jobs,” he said in a statement. “The government of Canada is produce [sic] to support the Egg Farmers of Ontario for this first-of-its-kind study that will make Canada a world leader in animal welfare.

“This investment will help pilot a solution that will be welcomed in Canada and around the world and will keep the egg industry strong and growing.”

READ MORE: London animal rights activist ‘targeted’ by aggressive driver due to bumper stickers

The Canadian egg industry contributes over $1 billion a year to the national economy and employs more than 17,000 people.

B.C. bans logging in sensitive Silverdaisy area in Skagit River Valley

Minister says no more timber licences will be awarded for the area, also known as the ‘doughnut hole’

The B.C. government has banned logging in an ecologically sensitive area along the U.S. border after Seattle’s mayor and environmental groups called for protection of the watershed.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson announced Wednesday that B.C. will no longer award timber licences in a 5,800-hectare plot called the Silverdaisy or “doughnut hole” in the Skagit River Valley.

He said the province’s previous Liberal government awarded a timber sale licence for the area in 2015 but that approval has now ended and no future licences will be granted.

“Individuals and groups on both sides of the border have expressed concerns that logging should stop in the Silverdaisy and we’re responding to those concerns,” the minister said on a conference call with reporters. “This is a significant step in addressing a lingering issue.”

B.C.’s forestry industry is in a slump due to timber shortages but Donaldson said his government is working to ensure access to new harvest areas that will replace the portion of the Silverdaisy that had been available for logging.

The doughnut hole is surrounded by the Skagit Valley and Manning provincial parks just east of Hope.

There was one timber sale planned in the area for 67,000 cubic metres, a relatively small volume, and Donaldson said he doesn’t anticipate any immediate impact on jobs.

Imperial Metals Corp., owner of the Mount Polley mine where a tailings dam collapse caused an ecological disaster in 2014, owns copper mineral claims in the Silverdaisy.

Tom Curley of the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission said it’s working to acquire those rights to ensure preservation of the area.

The commission, which aims to protect wildlife and acquire mineral and timber rights consistent with conservation purposes in the Skagit Valley, was created through the High Ross Treaty, a 1984 agreement between Canada and the U.S.

Imperial Metals did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote to the B.C. government last year urging it to halt logging in the area. She also said the Silverdaisy provides more than 30 per cent of the fresh water flowing into Puget Sound.

Environment Minister George Heyman said when the treaty was signed three decades ago, the B.C. and Washington governments signalled clear intent that, once the issue of mineral tenures was resolved, the doughnut hole would be returned to park status.

“Somewhere along the line … there was a lapse in corporate memory,” he said. “We’re restoring that today.”

The B.C. Liberals did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Heyman said the area is a critical wildlife corridor and foraging habitat for grizzly bear, wolverine and other species, and 33 per cent of the area is currently protected to provide a home for spotted owls and other species at risk.

“But today’s action will conserve the entire package,” he said.

Laura Kane, The Canadian

Elephant Rides Are Now Banned at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat

After pressure from animal rights groups, the temples’ management group decided to stop offering elephant rides to tourists.


NOVEMBER 18, 2019


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Cambodia’s most famous tourist attraction, Angkor Wat, will ban elephant rides around the ancient temples, beginning next year.

After pressure from animal rights groups, the temples’ management group decided to stop offering elephant rides to tourists.

To start the initiative, two of the 14 elephants that lived and worked at Angkor Archaeological Park were moved to the nearby Bos Tham forest last week, according to the Khmer Times.

The rest of the elephants that are in Angkor Wat will be transferred to the forest by early 2020. Visitors will be able to see the animals there but they will not be permitted to ride as the elephants will continue to be under the care of the company that currently owns them.

Tourists riding elephants in Angkor Wat

“The elephant is a big animal, but it is also gentle and we don’t want to see the animals being used for tourism activities anymore,” Long Kosal, a spokesperson for the park’s management company, told Khmer Times. “We want them to live in their natural surroundings.”

Elephants have been at Angkor Wat since the practice of ferrying tourists around started in 2001.

In 2016, an elephant named Sambo died at the park, due to a heart attack triggered by heatstroke and exhaustion. Her death prompted an online petition to end elephant riding at Angkor Wat, which earned more than 185,000 signatures.

The World Wildlife Fund published a report last year, stating that the number of Asian elephants has decreased 50 percent in the last three generations. There are less than 50,000 that live in the wild and they are officially listed as an endangered species.

If you visit Angkor Wat, check out Travel + Leisure’s tips for seeing the popular site without battling other tourists for a view.