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|Friday, November 10, 2000, updated at 12:04(GMT+8)|
Rare Birds Poachers Detained in Central China Wetland ReserveAs winter approached in northern China, thousands upon thousands of migratory birds flew to Dongting Lake, a wetland habitat in central China's Hunan Province, but nearly one thousand birds were killed by poachers lurking behind the bushes.
Eight poachers were arrested for conducting mass killing of lesser white-fronted geese on the lake. The poachers are expected to face criminal charges.
The eight suspects allegedly started poaching in middle October on the eastern side of the lake reserve.
The killing of two state-protected birds will be dealt with as a major poaching crime by the police, according to Chinese laws and regulations.
The 15,000 sq km Dongting Lake is a shelter for millions of birds over winter with the majority of dwellers being cranes, wild geese and swans.
Xu Mengqi, director of the State Lake Reserve, said that wetland reclamation for agricultural purposes has segmented the natural reserve, bringing difficulties to the protection efforts.
But strong penalties against poaching and closer cooperation among reserve wardens and staff with the local police and forestry department are expected to ensure the birds with better protection throughout the rest of winter, he said.
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