BEIJING (WASHINGTON POST) – Air China has become the first airline in mainland China to ban shark fin cargo, marking a dramatic shift in attitudes toward trade in endangered wildlife in China and throwing a lifeline to shark populations threatened with imminent extinction.
The news, released late on Friday (Jan 6), came just a week after China also announced plans to ban its domestic ivory trade, a landmark decision of vital importance in ending an epidemic of elephant poaching in Africa.
It marks the country’s gradual transformation from being the biggest source of the problem – as the largest market in illegal wildlife products – to becoming a major part of the solution.
“Scientists estimate that fins from up to 73 million sharks a year are used for shark’s fin soup, with much of the trade in shark fin destined for China,” said Alex Hofford, a wildlife activist from conservation group WildAid in …