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A mixed black and whitelist approach for wildlife trade regulation in China: Biodiversity conservation is made of shades of gray

Xiao, Lingyun; Pagani‐Núñez, Emilio; Han, Xuesong; Zhao, Peng; Li, Xueyang; Hong, Yixuan; Hu, Ruocheng; Zhao, Xiang; Sun, Ge; Wardhana, Cynthia; Lu, Zhi


Lingyun Xiao

Xuesong Han

Peng Zhao

Xueyang Li

Yixuan Hong

Ruocheng Hu

Xiang Zhao

Ge Sun

Cynthia Wardhana

Zhi Lu


The Kunming‐Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework requires effective actions to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030. Wildlife trade, a direct drive of biodiversity decline, calls for more effective regulations to both protect wildlife populations in the wild and facilitate sustainable use of wildlife resources to meet human needs. This call has become particularly urgent in light of the COVID‐19 pandemic. In 2021, China's List of State Key Protected Wild Animals, a list of fauna under the strictest protection by national legislation, has been updated in the year 2021, 32 years after its first release, increasing its coverage (from the original 13%) an 11% of species across taxa. Combined with the updated List of State Protected Terrestrial Wild Animals which covers species with lower protection priority, these two national lists already cover 77% terrestrial vertebrate species of China. Such a blacklist approach, placing threatened species under a list of legal protection, is a common practice globally in species conservation. We discussed pros and cons of this dominant strategy and further explored the potential integration with a whitelist approach, listing all wildlife and only permitting regulated uses of certain species. We propose a mixed approach combining black and whitelists at different administration levels which could perhaps be first adopted in China. This is mainly due to the fact that in addition to illegal harvesting from the wild, traded wildlife in China are mostly from captive breeding and related laundering of wild‐caught animals.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 17, 2024
Publication Date 2024-02
Deposit Date Jan 18, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 18, 2024
Journal Conservation Science and Practice
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Article Number e13062
Keywords whitelist approach, China, blacklist approach, law enforcement, wildlife trade, wildlife protection lists
Public URL


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