A senior official said on March 12 that China needs to step up its wildlife protection efforts in relation to regulations, law enforcement and public education.
Zhang Jianlong, head of the State Forestry Administration, made his remarks along the famous “ministers’ passage” before the fifth session of the 12th National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature.
Several recent cases involving the hunting, eating and alleged abuse of animals have triggered public discussion on social media platforms, such as a business banquet where attendees were served pangolin; a 22-year-old giant panda at Lanzhou Zoo named Shulan being seen foaming at the mouth and with blood on her back; and a live-streaming program about hunting Chinese bamboo rats.
Zhang said an investigation was launched into the meal, which took place in 2015, shortly after images of the pangolin dish began to circulate on social media in February.
It was discovered that the banquet had been arranged for a business delegation from Hong Kong to the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
“Two men have been arrested and the case is still under investigation,” Zhang added.
He also commented on netizen’s concerns over the health of giant panda Shulan.
Pictures online of Shulan at the zoo in Gansu province raised concerns among netizens recently, while visitors to the zoo have also complained that its pandas look unhealthy.
“After an evaluation by experts, Lanzhou Zoo has been deemed unsuitable for taking care of elderly pandas,” Zhang said, adding that Shulan will be returned to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, where she was born in 1994.
As for live-streaming the hunting of animals that are also under protection, despite not being endangered, the administration made a statement through on its Sina Weibo account saying that it suspects such activities violate the law.
Zhang said measures would be adopted such as introducing more regulations to facilitate the revised law on wildlife protection, which took effect on Jan 1, enhancing law enforcement and combating crime, as well as stepping up efforts to educate the public.
Chang Jiwen, deputy director of the Research Institute of Resources and Environment Policies at the State Council’s Development Research Center, a high-level think tank, said live-streaming the hunting of animals should be banned.
“It is not about whether the animals are endangered or under special protection. I think hunting is a brutal activity. Live-streaming such content could abet the crime,” Chang added.