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New fund to protect rescued animals, birds

October 20, 2006

Wild animals and birds rescued from poachers will be cared for thanks to a new fund.

The Sichuan Provincial Wildlife Conservation Association is co-operating with the Chengdu Municipal Forestry and Gardening Bureau to set up the fund, which will ensure the thousands of animals rescued in the province are looked after.

The organizations plan to shortly submit an application for the fund's establishment to the Sichuan Provincial Department of Civil Affairs.

The application is likely to be swiftly approved because of the fund's public-spirited nature, said Li Chu, an official with the department.

The new fund comes in the wake of a recent crackdown on poaching.

At the end of last month, Chengdu's forestry police launched a month-long strike against illicit hunting and the sale of wild animals and birds.

"About 9,000 wild animals and birds, including monkeys, eagles and frogs, have been rescued from poachers and profiteers," said Du Xusheng, chief of the bureau's forestry police section.

Many of the birds are believed to have been trapped on Longquan Mountain in the eastern suburbs of Chengdu, a place visited annually by thousands of migratory birds on their way south for the winter.

"As we're in the migratory season, profiteers are eying opportunities to kill birds and sell them in Chengdu," Du told China Daily.

On October 10, forestry police caught a 40-year-old farmer surnamed Luo from Shuangliu, a county near Chengdu, with five migratory eagles in Chengdu's Xinnanmen Bus Station.

"He was arrested and could be jailed for five to 10 years," said Du.

Most of the wild animals and birds saved have been returned to the wild, being released either in the city's suburbs or nearby mountains. A small number remain in captivity because they have been injured.

"We don't know what to do with them," said Liu Cheng, chief of the bureau's wildlife conservation section.

As there is no government agency in the province dedicated to the rescue of wildlife, the bureau has to rely on local zoos, which are under its administration, to look after the animals and birds, said Ye Lang, the bureau's deputy chief.

But most of the city's zoos are only interested in looking after the rarer animals.

"They would spend thousands of yuan treating a wounded snub-nosed monkey, but are reluctant to look after more common monkeys," said Liu.

Of the five eagles the farmer planned to sell, one had sustained a gunshot wound. The injured bird is currently in a large cage in the bureau's forestry police section, where it spends all day crowing.

Du said zoos refused to care for it because it was unlikely to attract many visitors.

How to handle injured animals and birds is often a dilemma for the bureau as there are no dedicated government funds for the care of rescued animals, said Du.

Sichuan is home to 144 species of wild animals covered by State-level protection, accounting for 39 per cent of the country's total.

As the illegal trade in wild animals and birds unfortunately persists a rescue fund is needed in Chengdu, said Deng Xiangsui, secretary-general of the Sichuan Provincial Wildlife Conservation Association.

Source: China Daily

http://english.people.com.cn/200610/20/eng20061020_313685.html

 


 

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