Migratory birds packed in crates saved by railway police

Source:Xinhua – Global Times Published: 2012-12-3 0:30:12

Local police in Changsha, Hunan Province, busted a bird smuggling case in which more than 1,100 wild birds, including some endangered species, were rescued, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

The Changsha railroad police said they received phone calls Thursday from local residents who claimed they saw wild birds on a cargo train traveling from Wuhan to Guangzhou.

Local railroad police and the forestry police immediately launched a joint investigation. They found dozens of boxes of wild birds in a train carriage labeled "live animals" at the Changsha Railway Station around 10 pm Thursday night.

Police reported the birds weighed more than 140 kilograms and their boxes were covered by plastic bags to keep the birds from being frightened. Most of the birds were migratory waterfowl that were captured as they were traveling south for the winter. The police said the rescued birds included greenwing macow, which is on the country's endangered animal list.

All the birds have been transferred to the Hunan wild life protection center.

A staff member from the center said the birds are mostly in good condition and the center has already arranged to release them at West Dongting Lake National Natural Reserve in the province's city of Changde.

The case is part of the ongoing campaign in Hunan aiming to crack down on bird poaching. The campaign was launched following the reported deaths of large numbers of migratory birds.

The Hunan forestry police have started screening for illegal poaching of migratory birds, after previous media reports showed villagers in Hunan captured the birds for food, while hobbyists and professional hunters were poaching the birds for sport and profit.

Illegally hunting or selling more than 20 wild birds is considered a criminal offense. The provincial forestry police are offering an award of up to 5,000 yuan ($803) to anyone who reports a successfully prosecuted illegal hunting case.

Xinhua - Global Times

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