It has taken years of lobbying from the international community, but news from Beijing this week, reported by Asia Today, is that a law has been enacted banning the hunting and trading of 420 endangered species.

Chinese medicine and tradition has long superseded conservation wisdom, especially for those with money to spare, which has led to the astronomical increase of international poaching of illegal animals and animal products. This new law, decided by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing, attaches criminal penalties and jail time (3-10 years) for those who willingly "eat or trade" the meat of hundreds of threatened species.

Some of the best known species include giant pandas, rhinoceros, pangolin, shark (finning), Asian black bear, and golden monkeys. Prior to this new law, those obtaining, distributing, and using items like powdered rhino horn, bear paw, or giant turtle went unpunished, even with complete clarity about the threat of extinction to the species. The practice is now termed a "global threat" in China, which brings that nation more into line with most international communities, and will hopefully pull the rug out from under the black market poaching trade.

As a global family, we can disagree on many things, but preservation and protection of a way forward with a healthy planet is a universal concern.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation ( and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project ( Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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