Public attitudes in China have shifted substantially to favor stricter regulations on the wildlife trade and a willingness to stop consuming wildlife, researchers reported recently in the Chinese journal Biodiversity Science (生物多样性). Conservationists in China are optimistic that increased attention on wildlife consumption since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic will boost national efforts to prioritize biodiversity conservation. The coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, thought to arise from wild bats sold in a meat and produce marketplace, spotlighted the public health risks of China’s rampant and often illegal wildlife trade. “By now, if you enter any cities and even rural areas in China, you can see slogans or pictures that we should keep healthy and not eat wildlife,” said environmental scientist Xiangying Shi of Peking University and executive director of Shan Shui Conservation Center, lead author of the study. The Chinese government’s wildlife consumption ban, enacted in February 2020, was surprisingly swift, Shi said. Government agencies have since followed up with policies to compensate wildlife farmers who were affected by the ban, which Shi called “encouraging progress.” A poacher catches a juvenile sunda pangolin in the early hours of the morning, Kalimantan, Indonesia. The demand for pangolin meat and scales used in traditional Chinese medicine in China and Vietnam is pushing the pangolin to extinction. Researchers at IUCN say that over a million pangolins were caught in the last decade, which makes them the most illegally-traded mammal in the world. Photo: Paul Hilton for WildAid To measure how the pandemic might…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer