Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular with middle-class consumers that a Chinese producer has created a donkey exchange to help companies find enough hides to keep their factories busy.
Like the poaching of Africa’s rhinos and elephants, and deforestation caused by the largely illicit trade in rosewood timber, the slaughter of donkeys is an unforeseen consequence of rising Chinese incomes and an expanding middle class. While the global donkey population is estimated at 44 million, demand is currently thought to be at least 4 million per year, The Donkey Sanctuary said in a report this year.
Chinese and Germans are among dozens of investors taking Ukraine up on its offer to turn the grounds of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters into a massive solar park.
Thirteen international investors are among the 39 groups seeking Ukraine permission to install about 2 gigawatts of solar panels inside the radioactive exclusion zone surrounding the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant, according to Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak. Two gigawatts is almost the capacity of two modern nuclear reactors, although atomic power unlike solar works day and night.
Chinese agriculture has thrived for thousands of years on this kind of recycling—the nutrients that fatten the pigs and geese also feed the fish. But the introduction of antibiotics into animal feed has transformed ecological efficiency into a threat to global public health.
Under President Xi Jinping, China has been aggressively asserting claims to most of the South China Sea, angering neighbors by turning specks of rock into artificial islands. Another water fight could be just as explosive: this one involving fresh water.
On Oct. 1, China said a hydropower project in Tibet was diverting water from a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, which flows into India and Bangladesh, reigniting concern over China’s control of some of the region’s biggest waterways that have provided irrigation, transport and life for millennia to much of South and Southeast Asia.
India, which fought a war with China in 1962 over a disputed border, is concerned that Beijing could use water as a strategic weapon. Six of Asia’s 10 biggest rivers originate in China, including the Brahmaputra.
A video filmed in China appears to show a frozen-solid fish defrosting in warm water and returning “to life,” moving and swimming on its own.
Affluent Chinese are putting two Mexican species at risk due to demand for dried swim bladders. But will this year’s Cites meeting on the wildlife trade force a crackdown?
A Chinese biotechnology firm said it plans to market its gene-edited micro pigs for $1,600 each, but some experts said they have concerns about the process.
The Shenzhen-based company, BGI, presented its pigs in late September at the Shenzhen International Biotech Leaders Summit and revealed the swine, which grow to a maximum size of about 33 pounds, were created via gene editing — disabling a copy of a growth hormone receptor in the animals to prevent their cells from receiving the signals to grow.
At a White House press conference Friday afternoon, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a suite of wide-ranging actions that clarify how serious the world’slargest greenhouse gas emitter is about cutting greenhouse gas emissions. These include prioritizing green energy on China’s grid, a cap-and-trade or emissions trading system for China, additional low-carbon financing to developing countries, and emissions standards for heavy duty vehicles. The fact that these announcements were made during the world’s most important bilateral meeting and official state visit lends them further significance.
Zimbabwe has exported 20 elephants to private game parks in China as part of conservation efforts and amid rising poaching in southern Africa.