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Great news from China! Following intense international backlash, the Chinese government said Monday that it has postponed a regulation that would have allowed the use of tiger bone and rhino horn for medicine, research and other purposes.
In October, China alarmed animal rights activists around the world when it weakened a 25-year-old ban on the trading of the animal parts. Conservationists said it would be akin to signing a "death warrant" for endangered tiger and rhino populations.
China said the controversial parts would now be allowed to be used for medicine and research at certified hospitals. The government further said the parts would only be sourced from farmed animals, but conservationists say that it is hard to tell whether parts come from legal farming or illegal poaching.
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What's worse, the critically endangered Sumatran tiger was pregnant with two cubs when it died and was expected to give birth in two weeks, local reports said.
Thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, Nepal now has an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country, a nearly twofold increase from its baseline of 121 individuals in 2009, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) announced Sunday on the occasion of Nepal's National Conservation Day.
The South Asian nation is now on track to become the first country to double its tiger population as part of WWF's "TX2" goal to double the world's wild tiger population by 2022—the next year of the tiger on the Chinese zodiac.
By John R. Platt
At first glance rhinos, pangolins and jaguars don't seem to have much in common.
But there are a few things that link them. For one thing, they're all targets of poachers and smugglers, who traffic in their body parts and threaten the species with extinction.
By John R. Platt
April, goes the old saying, is the cruelest month, so perhaps it should be no surprise that one of the most anticipated books being published this month is about the infamous death-by-dentist of Cecil the lion. But that's not all, and the rest isn't necessarily cruel—April will also see the publication of fantastic new books about living a zero-waste lifestyle, taking back our public lands, how fossil fuels hurt indigenous peoples and a whole lot more.
By AnaChristina Arana
President Trump has released his 2019 budget proposal, and when it comes to environmental policy, it's full of bad ideas.
The proposal he sent to Congress on Feb. 12 threatens our health, safety and economic future through major cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), essential environmental programs and our judicial rights. It would rob future generations of the chance to experience our nation's outdoors, gut clean air and water protections, and undermine toxic pollution cleanup programs that keep our children from being harmed by life-threatening pollution.
By Debbie Banks
I recently had the privilege of being one of the preliminary judges for the International Big Cats Film Festival, the winners of which will be announced on March 2. What a luxury—to indulge my passion for big cats and watch hours and hours of some of the most amazing footage of tigers, snow leopards, jaguars and lions in the wild, coupled with stories of extraordinary courage, tenacity and innovation from those seeking to protect them.
It was truly inspiring and an absolute celebration of these magnificent animals.
By Rajesh Rajaselvam
The tropics are home to the greatest diversity of plants and animals on Earth. Yet many of these hotspots are in war zones that disregard the rules of democracy and nurture an indefinite influence of corruption.
During the 10 years I've worked in tropical countries, I have seen the human toll on biodiversity both exaggerated and underplayed by scientists and media. Rare road kills of leopards in Sri Lanka have been mistakenly exaggerated as "organized poaching," and the systematic smuggling of reptiles in South America and Africa has been distorted as "random attempts."
By Adam C. Stein, Vyacheslav Kastrikin and Aleksey Antonov
Various independent sightings confirm that several of "Putin's tigers"—after nearly a year of hiding in the shadows—are alive and well in Amur Oblast Province of the Russian Far East. The first report came near the eve of the New Year from the Khingano-Arkaharinsky Federal Refuge, where Alexander Bochkarev—the former director of Khingansky Nature Reserve—discovered the fresh trail of an adult male tiger.