China revises wildlife protection laws and tightens regulations on artificial breeding and invasive species

A snub-nosed monkey from Guizhou is seen with a cub at a wildlife rescue center in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, June 16, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

A draft Chinese law revision has been submitted for consideration to improve wildlife protection in various aspects, including artificial breeding, habitat protection and the voluntary release of wild animals.

The draft wildlife protection law revision was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for a second reading on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the project, a classification management system for artificial breeding should be established. The bill says it requires official licenses to engage in the artificial rearing of wild animals under national priority protection, and the artificial rearing of animals identified by authorities as having vital ecological, scientific and social needs to be recorded.

Artificial breeding is a preventive measure to save endangered wild animals. The aim is to expand artificial populations and introduce them into the wild, Sun Quanhui, a scientist at the World Organization for Animal Welfare, told China Direct on Wednesday.

The descendants of some artificial breeding efforts, such as monkeys, tigers and bears, are also used in medical experiments and as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine in China, experts say.

Zhang Wei, a professor at the Faculty of Wildlife Resources at Northeast Forestry University in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, said the revisions are in line with the country’s efforts to encourage artificial breeding of wild animals in order to protect them and prevent exploitation. of wild animals. those in the wild.

China established a level-by-level classification management system for the artificial breeding of wild animals years ago. But the last draft clarified different management modalities for the artificial breeding of wild animals under national priority protection and for animals of vital ecological, scientific and social importance.

The review will help simplify procedures for artificially rearing animals of vital ecological, scientific and social importance, Zhang said.

In the bill, Chinese lawmakers also proposed strengthening protection of wildlife habitats and clarifying the responsibilities of governments at different levels in conservation work.

Governments at the provincial level or above will designate important wildlife habitats as part of national parks and other protected areas in order to protect, restore and enhance the wildlife environment.

Governments at the county level and above must assess the impact on wildlife and wildlife habitats when drawing up development plans in order to prevent or reduce potential adverse consequences.

Experience around the world has proved that not all species can be reproduced artificially. Thus, the most effective measure to protect and save endangered species is to always protect their habitats and eliminate threats to their lives in the wild, Sun noted.

The draft stipulates that people will be held civilly liable if they release wild animals that injure other people, damage their property or destroy the environment.

Any organization or individual releasing wild animals must choose species suitable for life in the local wild. Animal behavior must not disrupt the daily life and production of local residents, or destroy the local ecology, says the draft.

In recent days, several alligator fish, an imported species, have been found in many places in China, including the capital Beijing, Henan province (central China) and Jiangsu province (east).

Being aggressive and having no natural enemies in China, the fish, which has entered Chinese waters, will seriously threaten the survival of local fish, experts have warned.

The issue drew public attention to the vexing issue of illegal importation, release or abandonment of alien species. Under Chinese law, those who commit such violations risk up to three years in prison.

Zhu Haoning contributed to this story

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