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Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

China giving with one hand whilst taking with the other?

Yesterday, China broke the news that it was finally to recognise and address animal welfare within its national legislation. Wildlife in China is currently protected by “The Protection of Wildlife Law” introduced back in 1988. However, the welfare of the individual animal isn’t recognised. This is a crucial omission as authorities are hampered by the current law and its restrictions. As it stands, the law is actually far from protective as there are no regulations to punish those who hurt or abuse wildlife. Given that the bill also only covers wildlife “in the wild”, those held in captive facilities are not protected by existing legislation and there are no standard regulations covering living or breeding conditions of captive wildlife – something this amendment will be looking to address. WDC hopes that this step will help address many of the issues affecting the import and keeping of whales, dolphins and porpoises currently in captivity in China.

An in-country source told WDC “This is wonderful news that will improve both conservation and welfare efforts for China’s wildlife. I admire China’s continued strengthening of wildlife policy and look forward to seeing the success of this bill.”

This is a big step for China and one that should be applauded however before the world could catch up, half way around the world another story broke, this one detailing the barbaric capture of dozens of baby elephants in Zimbabwe, destined for parks and zoos in China. As they are seen to give with one hand, they take so painfully with the other. The circumstances surrounding the capture of these young elephants remains unknown but their fate does not. Already being transported overland to Mozambique, they will be loaded onto a sea container where they will slowly make their way to their new homes, thousands of miles away from their families. Although the fault for the capture must lie at Zimbabwe’s door, the demand came from China, where the legislation to consider and enact animal welfare provisions is even more important than ever. 

Clearly there is a long way to go on the animal welfare road in China but … as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said “the journey of a thousand miles starts begins with a single step”. Let’s just hope it’s a sprint to the finish line!

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC