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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Netizens rally to aid of captive seals (2)

By Liu Ce and Wu Yong  (China Daily)

08:39, March 01, 2012

The harbor seal travels to China from South Korea between December and May every year to give birth in Bohai Bay.

The population has plummeted in the Panjin area, from 10,000 in the early 1930s to nearly 2,000 today, according to the Panjin association.

Hotels obtain the seals from fishermen, aquariums or breeding bases.

"The conditions for keeping seals in restaurants is limited, and there are no experts on raising seals there," Tian said. "Also, customers like to tease them, so the poor seal faces hunger, injury and even death threats."

His concerns are not groundless. Dushi Luzhou, a restaurant in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, raised four seals for nearly 10 years. Now only two are left.

The pool is only about 10 square meters and the water, which is green and cloudy, is only about 1.5 meters deep.

"When I came here five years ago, the seals were lively and energetic, but now they are spiritless," said Hou Xinyu, a local resident who eats in the restaurant and watches the seals.

An employee of the restaurant who didn't wish to be named, said: "We have permits for raising them. Besides, even when we send them back to the sea, the seals may not live because they are accustomed to being fed."

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