Chinese forest officials slam UK elephant charity report


Yin Han, The Global Times

Date Published

Chinese forestry officials on Wednesday denounced a report by a British charity outlining China’s role in the international trade of elephant skin as fabricated.

“China has always been strict on trading elephant products, and elephant skin is not even a regular import item,” said Meng Xianlin, executive director-general of China’s endangered species of wild fauna and flora import and export management office, an affiliate of the State Forestry and Grassland Administration.

“The amount of elephant skin imported into China is very limited although importing elephant skin in China is not banned,” Meng told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In a report published on Tuesday, Elephant Family noted an alarming escalation in the illegal trade of Asian elephant skin, a trade that passed from the forests of Myanmar into China.

“The report of the charity is cooked,” said Meng, who has worked for 22 years testing samples from animal carcasses and providing evidence for endangered species legal cases.

“Not a single piece of material tested by me was related to elephant skin,” Meng said.

China has always been strict and effective on cracking down on ivory trafficking, Meng noted. China at the end of 2017 implemented a ban on ivory trading.

Big e-business companies in China “were urged to eliminate illegal trade and are required to receive training on detecting illegal trade online,” he said.

Some illegal trade might have transferred from the big e-commerce platforms to smaller private websites, with the scale greatly reduced, Meng said.