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China clamps down on rampant bird poaching

(People's Daily Online)    15:09, November 10, 2016

[File photo]

Chinese authorities have issued an emergent notice about tackling the illegal trade and hunting of migratory birds, sending a strong signal of the country’s determination to strike a blow against illegal poaching.

The notice, jointly released in November by seven government sectors including the Ministry of Public Security and State Administration for Industry and Commerce, stipulates that illegal bird trading and hunting be more severely punished by the government.

This notice came on the heels of several recent cases of bird poaching across the nation. In October, 259 swans and mallards were poisoned in Inner Mongolia, while in Tangshan, at least 5,000 birds were strangled by trammel nets. The rampant killing of migratory birds has worried the public as well as many animal welfare organizations, who demanded that the government tackle the problem.

“The strong market demand for birds has led to an uptick in poaching. Most poached birds, such as swans and mallards, are cooked and served in restaurants, while birds of prey may be made into specimens for profit,” said Tian Zhiwei, a Tangshan-based bird protection volunteer, in an interview with Beijing News. Tian added that an illegal and large-profit chain is behind the industry.

According to the Beijing News report, a poached bird can be sold for about 100 RMB in most restaurants, while the price for pet birds and specimens can be much higher. The great profit has lured many criminals to poach birds despite the risks. Meanwhile, China’s current animal protection law is not strong enough to punish poachers, as poaching only constitutes a crime when over 20 wild birds are illegally killed or traded.

“The government should increase criminal penalties applied to poachers, while the implementation of the animal protection law should be conducted jointly by several government sectors. For instance, the transportation department should strengthen supervision of suspicious vehicles, while the commerce department should clamp down on illegal trading in markets and restaurants,” said Zhou Haixiang, director of Shenyang Ligong University’s Ecology and Environmental Research Office.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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