Authorities close net on bird hunters

By Du Liya Source:Global Times Published: 2012-10-29 1:00:04


Two men have been arrested and 618 wild birds they had captured were released by local forestry police in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, the Changsha-based Xiaoxiang Morning Herald reported Saturday.

The arrests were part of the month-long joint campaign that started on October 18 between the police in Guangdong and Hunan provinces, which aims to both prevent the capture of migratory birds and remove wild animals from the menus of restaurants. 

The campaign began after eight crates of live birds were discovered on a truck at an expressway toll gate in Xiangtan on October 5. The truck was headed to Guangdong. Police say the men were part of a criminal gang that had been illegally capturing and selling live birds to restaurants in Guangdong for 11 years.

The Wild Animal Protection Law prohibits the hunting for rare wild animals. Catching common migratory birds without official permission is also illegal.

The Hunan provincial department of forestry said Sunday the ongoing campaign has questioned or fined 650 people, of which 98 were arrested and charged for their involvement in the illegal hunting of birds. Some 1,260 birds have been freed.

Deng Fei, who initiated on his Sina Weibo a program aiming to free captured migratory birds, said their capture for commercial purposes is harming the environment.

"Catching birds for private use is illegal in China. Showing the facts to the public can help them realize how serious the problem is," Deng added.

"The increasing demand for wildlife that are served by restaurants, especially in southern China, has triggered an increase in hunting," said Deng, adding that it is important for authorities to do more to prevent the trade.

The Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News reported Thursday that local police in Dongguan, Guangdong, confiscated from local restaurants a large number of wild animals including 300 sparrows, 200 wild chickens and three pangolins, a tough-hided scaly anteater.

"The hunting will stop if demand from the dining table is stopped," said Yang Baijin, an inspector of the Ministry of Forestry, adding that raising awareness about possible infectious diseases carried by some wild animals is also essential.

The Ministry of Forestry said on October 22 that it plans to strictly enforce laws against illegal hunting of wild birds and close markets that sell them.

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