The Guangdong provincial forestry department put 2,030 civet cats in quarantine Monday to prevent any possible spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), department officials said.
The civet cats came from 41 farms in the province. Early this morning, the province announced a ban on the breeding and sale of civet cats.
These moves have been approved by the provincial government, as scientists have confirmed that civet cats are major SARS virus carriers. It is estimated that some 10,000 animals may be killed to stop the spread of SARS.
The provincial forestry department ordered its subordinate bureaus to finish the registration and quarantining of wildlife such as civet cats and badgers by Monday and to cooperate closely with the health and agricultural departments on sterilization measures.
Wild game cuisine, both traditional and popular in south China,particularly in Guangdong, has been widely blamed for being a source of the SARS virus, which claimed 349 lives in China and spread to a number of places worldwide last year.
According to the bureau, most of the wild animals in Guangdong's markets come from elsewhere in the country.
The department has set up eight inspection stations along highways in the cities of Shaoguan, Heyuan, Zhanjiang, Shantou, Zhaoqing, Yunfu, Huizhou and Meizhou so as to prevent wild animals entering Guangdong.
In addition, the department has asked its counterparts in the neighboring provinces to stop approving and issuing transportation licenses for wildlife, and help prevent wildlife entering Guangdong.
The governments of all levels in Guangdong were required to establish inspection teams to strengthen protection in this regard.