søndag 28. januar 2018

China Is Decimating Southeast Asian Wildlife

The Chinese were among the first foreigners to do trade with the island of Sumatra. Six hundred years ago, villages would have been but infinitesimal specks in an inconceivably vast and sublime rain forest. In 1416, a Chinese report on Sumatra noted that “There are in the forests immense quantities of wild rhinoceroses, which the king lets catch by men.” The rhinos, the author goes on to explain, would be sent to China as “tribute” to the emperor. Later, in the midst of compiling a list of agricultural products and minerals to be found in Sumatra, the author’s mind drifts back to something even more valuable, and he abruptly ends his list by reminding his Chinese reader: “Besides, there are rhinoceroses.”