Guangdong launches reward scheme for reporting wildlife offences, with prizes up to $15,000
Published: Feb 09, 2021 03:47 PM

A visitor views a photo exhibited at a wildlife photography exhibition in Jilin Province Library, Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, Jan. 8, 2021. A wildlife photography exhibition kicked off at Jilin Province Library Friday. (Xinhua/Xu Chang)

South China's Guangdong Province recently announced a trial scheme to reward those who report wildlife offences. The scheme is seen as an effective way to ensure long-term protection of wild animals, an expert told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

There are several items under the scheme including people who provide clues about the illegal hunting and killing of rare and endangered wildlife; and providing clues about the illegal operation, acquisition, transportation and sale of precious and endangered wild animals and related products, according to the regulations released by the Guangdong local authorities on February 5.

The rewards range from 3,000 yuan ($465) to 100,000 yuan based on the information the person provides; those who give particularly valuable information can be rewarded up to 100,000 yuan.

People who give clues about the illegal operation of wildlife under special protection of the state including establishing wildlife trading places, conducting online sales, illegal artificial breeding and exhibition performances is also included in the reporting scheme.

For a long term, "wildlife protection volunteers have played important roles" in reporting wildlife offenses, Guo Peng, director of the Center for Animal Protection Studies at Shandong University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Guangdong's trial scheme will be "effective" to support the rewards mechanism, which will be useful to protect wildlife, Guo said.

Some residents living in rural places are not familiar with wildlife protection laws, Guo said, noting that the authorities' financial support in reporting illegal activities to protect wildlife is quite "positive" and it will help more residents understand the regulations.

Netizens also raised questions over how to better protect those people who report wildlife offences. The authorities shall strictly protect the confidentiality of the informants, and shall not disclose their identities and the amount of reward based on the trial regulations. Violators shall be dealt with seriously in accordance with the relevant provisions.

Guo agreed that it is "essential" to protect the confidentiality of the informants otherwise the regulations will not be carried out effectively.

Guangdong was the first province to revise its local regulation on wildlife protection on March 31, 2020, as a timely decision to ban wildlife trade after the COVID-19 outbreak, as the province was among one of the regions to heavily consume wildlife.