China had prosecuted about 15,000 people in relation with wildlife crimes in the first nine months of the year, 66% by 2019, as smuggling ban was imposed after the outbreak of COVID-19. About 4,000 people were prosecuted for poaching and 3,000 illegally buying, transporting and selling wild animal products.
The prosecutor warned that a large part of the illegal wildlife business had moved online, with traders using e-commerce platforms to sell banned wild animals. China’s poorly regulated wildlife trade came to headlines in January after the first outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan city, which explored the market for wildlife products.
Scientists believe the COVID-19 originated in horseshoe bats and could have infected humans through an intermediary species with pangolins identified as a possible suspect. China’s legislature issued a resolution in February promising to ban the sale and consumption of wild animals, but the new law is expected to include an exemption for the trade of fur and traditional Chinese medicine.