Oct. 30 (UPI) -- China is reversing a 25-year ban on the trade and use of rhino horns and tiger bones, a move that is delivering a blow to international conservation efforts.
The Financial Times reported the decision, made public on Monday, would permit the use of endangered species' parts for medical and scientific use.
"Under special circumstances, trading or using of tiger bone, rhino horn or any products containing them should apply for permission," China's state council said.
Conservation group World Wildlife Fund said the policy would have adverse effects in protecting the animals.
"It is deeply concerning that China has reversed its 25-year-old tiger bone and rhino horn ban, allowing a trade that will have devastating consequences globally," said WWF's wildlife practice leader Margaret Kinnaird on Monday, according to the South China Morning Post.
"The resumption of a legal market for these products is an enormous setback to efforts to protect tigers and rhinos in the wild."
Beijing did not provide a reason for the ban's reversal, which was approved in 1993 amid an international drive to protect threatened wildlife.
The decision comes at a time when wildlife parts continue to be trafficked in Chinese territory.
The Hong Kong Standard reported last week a rhino horn smuggler was sentenced to eight months in prison for bringing nearly 7 pounds of rhino horns into Hong Kong from Mozambique.
The maximum penalty for wildlife trafficking in Hong Kong is about $1.3 million and 10 years in jail, according to the report.