International Society For Endangered Cats

A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World

Cats in China: Legal Status and Conservation

Thirteen felid species are distributed over all three climatic zones in China. Felids are numerous and widespread in China, and hence the country bears an important responsibility to cat conservation.

China is a country with a long history of agriculture and forestry, both having had a great impact on wildlife survival. From ancient times, the distribution of cats in China has gradually shrunk, and over the country as a whole, habitat deterioration and destruction are common problems that have led to population declines. In relation to the protection of wildlife and habitats, the Chinese government has proclaimed some ordinances concerning wildlife protection since 1960, issued the Law of Wildlife Protection in 1988, and is now revising this law.

There were various complicated situations concerning the implementation of wildlife protection ordinances due to governmental and social attitudes and economic conditions from 1950 to mid-1980. At that time, governments at different levels had called for attacks on nature, promoting the over-use of woodlands and grasslands, and hunting fur animals etc, trying to solve the country’s economic difficulties and overcome poverty. This had serious effects on wildlife protection.

Wildlife resources in China belong to the forestry executive system, which is composed of the State Forestry Administration, the provincial Forestry Bureau and the County Forestry Bureau. Police departments are authorized to persecute and punish poaching, illegal hunting and illegal trade in wildlife.

The establishment of nature reserves is one of the most important ways to conserve wildlife. China’s nature reserves are divided into national, provincial and county level parks, manifesting different levels of importance of the protected areas. In general, the establishment of new protected areas starts at county level and is gradually promoted to provincial and national level. The different levels of protected areas are financially supported by the respective governments.

Source: CATnews Special Issue 5, Autumn 2010 Authors: Lu Jun, Hy Defu and Yang Liangliang

Next week: Status and Conservation of small and medium cats

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