Photo: Relict gull @shijike
In January, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, China announced a nation-wide suspension of wildlife trade. The National People’s Congress, the top legislature of China, then initiated a process for amending the current Wildlife Protection Law to further codify the decision. In February, NRDC was invited by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) to conduct a policy review on global wildlife management and epidemic control practices and provide comments for the amended Wildlife Protection Law. In October, the revised draft of Wildlife Protection Law was released for public comment. The released draft incorporated several of the key points NRDC had advocated for, such as adding “safeguard public health” to the purpose of the law and establishing an inter-agency coordination mechanism at both the national and provincial levels. NRDC submitted further recommendations to the draft law during the public comment period, including enhancing (not just maintaining) biodiversity conservation, establishing a scientific and transparent stockpile management system for confiscated wild animals and their products, and encouraging public interest litigation to protect wildlife and their habitats.