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THE USES OF MUSK AND EUROPE’S ROLE IN ITS TRADEON SCENT: CONSERVING MUSK DEER
A TRAFFIC Europe report
By Volker Homes
Recommendations for action to promote the future conservation of musk deer are based on the following areas of focus:
Improvement of scientific information on the conservation status of musk deer
Accurate assessments of musk deer populations and their conservation status are crucial to effective conservation of the species. Therefore, studies of the species should be undertaken urgently in the known range States – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, North and South Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan (possible range State), China, Mongolia, India and Nepal. Most urgently, these are needed in China, Mongolia and Russia, because these are the range countries where exports and use of musk occurs in the most significant quantities. This report recommends the results of such assessments to be presented to the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. The taxonomy of various musk deer species should be clarified, in particular because recommendations for legal actions under CITES are established at species level.
Investigation of harvest, trade and demand in musk deer range countries
Surveys of the domestic markets for musk deer in China, South Korea, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Mongolia and Russia, should be undertaken as priorities because these domestic markets seem to be of high relevance, but the demand for musk, and its harvest and legal and illegal trade should be surveyed in all musk deer range countries. For example, the level of demand for musk and the characteristics of the market for traditional East Asian medicines containing musk should be examined and studies are needed to clarify the scale of illegal trade in musk along Russia’s eastern border. This report recommends the results of such surveys be presented to the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES.
Improvement of legal protection for musk deer in range countries
Appropriate measures to protect musk deer need to be taken in musk deer range countries, including the further establishment of protected zones; classing species and subspecies of musk deer as protected by law, where this is not already the case; revising the regulatory system for the exploitation of musk deer and export of musk in Russia; establishing such a system in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (if this is a range country); and encouraging the accession to CITES of the musk deer range countries Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and North Korea.
Sustainable use initiatives and farmed deer
The Chinese policy on musk deer farming needs to be reviewed and, where applicable, developed into an economic and species-appropriate management concept, while plans for the extraction of musk from captive musk deer in Russia should be supported and, if economically feasible, used in private business with management plans and initiatives. Projects that can demonstrate sustainable harvests of musk from farmed and/or wild animals should be promoted as models to emulate. China and Russia should exchange knowledge and share experience relating to the management and breeding of musk deer on farms and make the same available to other relevant countries, for example, North and South Korea.
Regulation of trade in musk in non-range countries
Importing countries should be required to assist source countries to safeguard and monitor wild musk deer populations, by means of financial or technical assistance. While all CITES Parties trading raw musk internationally should enforce all CITES provisions pertaining to musk, the role of Cambodia in the international musk trade should be singled out for further investigation and the significance of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Cambodia in the international trade in, and use of, medicines containing musk should be examined in greater detail. Enforcement problems relevant to the international trade in musk derivatives should be detected and eliminated – for example, proposals for labelling of musk specimens and products containing musk should be developed jointly with the traders and authorities in the countries of origin and forensic techniques should be developed and shared among CITES Parties to determine the presence or absence of musk in derivatives.
Use of musk and musk products in Asian medicinals, perfumes and homeopathic products
The level of Asian medicinal consumption of musk needs to be ascertained to better understand the existing and expected market needs. Until the presence or absence of genuine musk in Asian medicines is clarified, all items that claim to contain musk should be traded with CITES permits. Simultaneously, research on musk substitutes for use in TEAM needs to be encouraged.
Although it seems likely that the demand for musk in the perfume industry in Europe is decreasing, this requires monitoring, particularly since there are reports that natural musk is used in the Russian perfume industry. Reported use of natural musk in Chinese and Arabian perfume manufacture also requires monitoring. Perfumes that contain natural musk should be subject to permitting requirements when in international trade, as are other products containing the ingredient, but since the amount of musk used in homeopathic medicine is very low it is not recommended that homeopathic products containing musk need CITES permits when in international trade.