For the first time in 32 years, the list of wild animals has been greatly adjusted: 517 species have been added and species protection has been upgraded.

Snow falls in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan, and two giant panda cubs play in the snow. Xinhua News Agency reporter Jiang Hongjing photo
Red-bellied pheasant and golden pheasant are strolling for food in Chongqing Jinfo Mountain National Forest Park. Photo by Yan Mingbin
Yangtze finless porpoises swim in Duchang waters of Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province. Fu Jianbin
Rangers are inspecting Qilian Mountain National Nature Reserve in Gansu Province. Photo by Wang Jiang
The State Forestry and Grassland Bureau and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs jointly issued an announcement recently, announcing the newly adjusted List of National Key Protected Wild Animals (hereinafter referred to as the List). This is the first time that the Catalogue has been greatly adjusted since it was promulgated and implemented in January 1989.
Why should the Directory be substantially adjusted? What are the highlights of the adjustment? What impact will it bring to wildlife protection? The reporter interviewed relevant experts and scholars.
Sixty-five species of wild animals, such as jackals and Yangtze finless porpoises, have been upgraded from national second-class protection to national first-class protection, and 988 species (categories) of wild animals have been included in the new Catalogue.
According to the Law on the Protection of Wild Animals, the state implements classified and graded protection for wild animals, and gives priority protection to rare and endangered wild animals. Wild animals under special state protection are divided into first-class protected wild animals and second-class protected wild animals. After the publication of the Catalogue in 1989, until this major adjustment, there was no systematic update except that all species of musk deer and pangolin were upgraded to national first-class protected wild animals in 2003 and 2020 respectively.
"In the past 30 years, the situation of wildlife protection in China has undergone great changes." Jiang Zhigang, former executive deputy director of the National Endangered Species Science Committee, said that some endangered wild animals have been effectively protected, and the degree of endangerment has been alleviated, while the degree of endangerment of some wild animals has intensified, and a number of new rare and endangered species have been discovered with in-depth research and need to be protected in time. It is necessary to scientifically adjust the Catalogue.
The new Catalogue has changed a lot, and the range of wildlife under special state protection has greatly increased. From this set of data, the great change can be seen:
—— On the basis of retaining all species in the original Catalogue, 517 species of wild animals have been added, which is more than the total number of previously protected species. Among them, 43 species such as the spotted civet cat are listed as national first-class protected wild animals, and 474 species such as wolves are listed as national second-class protected wild animals;
-Raising 65 kinds of wild animals, such as jackals and Yangtze finless porpoises, from the national second-class protected wild animals to the national first-class; Three kinds of wild animals, the bear monkey, the capra ibex and the python, were adjusted from the national first-class protected wild animals to the national second-class;
A total of 988 species (classes) of wild animals are listed in the new Catalogue, including 234 species and 1 class of wild animals under national first-class protection and 746 species and 7 classes of wild animals under national second-class protection. Among the above species, 686 are terrestrial wild animals, 294 and 8 are aquatic wild animals.
The newly discovered endangered species have attracted much attention in this adjustment of the Catalogue. "This adjustment has timely included precious and endangered species newly discovered and recorded in China in recent years." Shi Kun, director of the Wildlife Research Institute of Beijing Forestry University and professor of the School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, said that species such as white-cheeked macaque, lazy bear and red gazelle are small populations or marginal distribution in southwest China, which have important ecological functions and need to be protected.
Incorporating into the scope of national key protection and upgrading the protection level means that the protection of species has increased significantly.
It is noteworthy that five species, including Tibetan antelope, Tibetan wild donkey, bear monkey, capra ibex and python, were proposed to be downgraded to the second level in the draft of the Catalogue, but only three species, namely, bear monkey, capra ibex and python, were downgraded in the officially published Catalogue.
"The populations of bear monkey, capra ibex and python are stable and widely distributed, and they are downgraded, which reflects the effectiveness of protection work and is also based on the conclusion of scientific assessment." Shi Kun said that Tibetan antelope and Tibetan wild donkey have not been downgraded, mainly because they are worried that the illegal cost of destroying species will be reduced after demotion, which may lead to a rebound in poaching and threaten the survival of species.
Why did the new Catalogue add so many species? Zhang Wei, a professor at the College of Wildlife and Nature Reserve of Northeast Forestry University, believes that on the one hand, China has continuously strengthened biodiversity protection, and its ability to protect species has become stronger and stronger, and it has the ability to include more species in key protection areas. In recent years, China has accelerated the construction of a nature reserve system with national parks as the main body, with a total of 11,800 nature reserves, accounting for 18% of the land area, effectively protecting 90% of vegetation types and terrestrial ecosystems and 85% of key protected wildlife populations; At the same time, the protection of endangered wild animals has been continuously strengthened, and a stable artificial breeding population has been established for more than 300 endangered wild animals. On the other hand, with the development of taxonomy, many changes have taken place in the animal classification system, and this important change has been taken into account in the adjustment of the Catalogue, which has also led to the increase of species included in the scope of protection.
Incorporating into the national key protection scope and upgrading the protection level means that the protection of species will be significantly increased. Species protection and upgrading, protection projects and funding will increase, which is of great significance to the gradual recovery of populations and habitats.
"Different levels of protection also mean that there are different sentencing standards for cracking down on poaching, illegal smuggling and illegal trafficking." Jiang Zhigang said that the adjustment of the Catalogue has brought new opportunities for the protection of a large number of rare and endangered wild animals.
For key protected species, a rescue plan should be made as soon as possible to restore the population and habitat of threatened species.
The substantial adjustment of the Catalogue has undoubtedly put forward higher requirements for wildlife protection.
"The adjustment of the Catalogue to include more species requires supporting funds, technology and personnel, and relevant departments should formulate supporting management measures." Jin Kun, director of the Nature Reserve Research Institute of China Academy of Forestry, said.
Shi Kun suggested that after the species are included in the national key protection scope, a rescue plan should be made as soon as possible to restore the threatened species population and habitat. Combined with the construction of protected areas, efforts should be made to protect the habitats of rare species.
Clear responsibilities, do a good job of coordination, and keep up with capacity building.
Shi Kun believes that the inclusion of species in the scope of national key protection does not mean that only the state has the responsibility to protect. The local authorities should cooperate with the state to strengthen the capacity building of grassroots protection and implement the responsibility to the county level. Jin Kun also said that the protection of wildlife under special state protection should embody the principle of concentrating resources and giving prominence to protection. The species between the national and local key protection lists should be balanced, and the responsibilities of the central and local governments should be clarified so as to facilitate management and law enforcement. "Some species are included in the national key protection ranks, and the staff of supervision, law enforcement and other departments should further learn and master relevant knowledge, such as identification technology and punishment standards." Jin Kun said.
Only by strengthening supervision and public participation can protection be effective.
In the new Catalogue, more than 60 species are labeled as "wild populations only". In this regard, Shi Kun explained that some species have mature breeding techniques and stable artificial populations, which are listed in the National Catalogue of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources, such as sika deer and red deer. "This labeling distinguishes the wild population and artificial population of species, and does not engage in’ one size fits all’, which embodies the concept of sustainable development. Of course, it is necessary to strengthen supervision and crack down on illegal hunting of wild populations as artificial populations. "
Jiang Zhigang said that the protection of wild animals should not be at the expense of local residents’ interests. It is necessary to increase financial transfer payments, improve the ecological compensation mechanism and the compensation mechanism for wildlife damage, guide local residents to benefit from wildlife protection, attract them to take the initiative to participate, and truly realize the harmonious coexistence between man and nature.
The wildlife protection law is clear, and the Catalogue is adjusted every five years according to the assessment. "This adjustment is comprehensive, scientific and realistic, but there is room for further adjustment." Jin Kun said that it is necessary to increase investment in scientific research, intensify the investigation and monitoring of species resources, scientifically evaluate the population status, regularly update or adjust the Catalogue according to the actual needs of wildlife protection, and build a reasonable entry and exit mechanism for the Catalogue.
The relevant person in charge of the State Forestry and Grassland Bureau said that it will further strengthen protection, implement local government responsibilities, ensure the safety of rare and endangered species and habitats, strictly enforce law enforcement and supervision, and severely crack down on illegal and criminal activities. At the same time, publicity and education will be widely carried out to improve public scientific cognition, guide the public to consciously resist illegal acts and support protection work, and form a good situation of joint protection from all walks of life.
(Source: People’s Daily)