Wildlife protection

Updated: 2012-11-26 10:53

(China Daily)

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Since the media exposure of Oriental white storks being poisoned at Tianjin's Beidagang Wetland Nature Reserve two weeks ago, more and more volunteers, the media and the government are working together in a campaign to protect these endangered birds.

It is estimated that there are less than 3,000 of these beautiful birds worldwide and they are listed under China's first-grade State protection.

Yet investigative media reports have disclosed the existence of a treacherous profit-making chain that sells the birds to restaurants. Informants revealed that a large wild bird like the oriental white stork can be traded for 200 yuan ($32) on the black market.

There were also reports of a "route of death" for migratory birds that ended in their slaughter in Central China's Hunan province and migratory birds being caught and killed in other parts of the country. All together these are sad proof that our wildlife protection efforts are shamefully inadequate.

That these birds survived their natural predators only to finally fall prey to human greed is intolerable. Such barbaric acts violate the law and must be punished.

At a time when China has vowed to build an "ecological civilization", as stressed by former Party leader Hu Jintao in his report delivered to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, we should not confine this to the prevention of air and water pollution alone.

What happened in Tianjin reveals obvious loopholes in the management of the wetland reserve. To prevent such tragedies from happening again, a broader and more effective network for wildlife protection must be put in place. A monitoring network is needed to prohibit the illegal trade in wildlife.

The media should also raise people's awareness of wildlife protection. Only with the participation of the whole of society will our wildlife be able to survive and thrive.