China has postponed the lifting of a ban on the trade of rhino horn and tiger parts for medicine and other uses. The government has forced to take this decision following a wave of protests from environmental groups.
Rhinos and tigers are both endangered in the wild and China had prohibited their trade in 1993.
But in late October, it announced it would permit the animal parts to be used for scientific, medical and cultural purposes.
Tiger and rhino parts are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine. They are prescribed to treat a large variety of ailments including fever, gout, insomnia, and meningitis, though any benefits have not been proven.
In a statement on 29 October, China’s state council said it would allow powdered forms of rhino horn and bones from dead tigers to be used in “qualified hospitals by qualified doctors”.
Conservation groups reacted with outrage. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said it would have “devastating consequences”.