Answer from Shekar Dattatri, Conservation India:
‘Educating’ someone is not easy if they don’t want to be ‘educated’. If the Chinese government wants, it can ‘educate’ all its citizens very quickly about not consuming wildlife products. Unfortunately however, it shows no signs that it has any interest in cracking down on the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife derivatives. In fact everyone is happy to look the other way, and it is a well known fact that senior government functionaries in China use such products. Given the kind of country it is, it’s not easy for foreign NGOs to launch campaigns. If India wants to safeguard its wildlife, we must do a much better job of protection. The levels of patrolling and protection in most Indian reserves is laughable, and there is virtually no intelligence-led enforcement. Instead of wringing our hands about the Chinese, if we just made our system of protection more efficient and accountable, our wildlife will flourish despite some poaching here and there. In fact, places like Kaziranga and Nagarahole, which have had a long tradition of protection, are a testimony to this. No country can eliminate poaching, but it is certainly possible to control it to a large extent with the right measures.