The first public interest litigation on endangered animal conservation was held in Kunming, Yunnan

On August 28th, 2018, the very first public interest litigation on endangered animal conservation in China, the case on green peafowl habitat protection, was held in the Environmental Court of Kunming Intermediate People’s Court. The trial opened on the 28th. After three hours of court investigation and debate, the court announced the end of the trial. The sentence would be announced at a later date.

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A green peafowl in its habitat in Kunming, Yunnan @ Wei Zhang, Wild China

In July 2017, to prevent the construction of the Jiasa River-I hydropower station from destroying the last intact green peafowl habitat in China, Friends of Nature brought a lawsuit. The lawsuit demanded that the defendants, the China Hydropower Consulting Group Xinping Co. Ltd and China Power Construction Group Kunming Survey and Design Institute Co. Ltd, halt the construction of the hydropower station in the Jiasa River.

The focus of the case centered around whether the two defendants would cause large-scale destructions to the ecosystems in the inundated areas. The plaintiff, Friends of Nature, stated that the inundated area of the construction project was a habitat with the largest green peafowl population. The construction would result in substantial environmental damage to the critical habitat of green peafowls, and would very likely cause the green peafowls in the region to go extinct.

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@ Xiaosong Zhuang

The representatives from the defendants’ side questioned the professionalism of the plaintiff’s experts. They argued in court that, based on their environmental impact assessment, the construction would cause no considerable damage to the ecosystems and the species.

The construction project is located in a tropical rainforest, where the biodiversity would be tremendously damaged by the hydropower station.

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Currently, the two defendants are waiting for instructions from relevant government departments as to whether or not to resume the construction.

All information and photos come from Friends of Nature: http://www.fon.org.cn/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=13220:2018-08-30-02-37-33&Itemid=176

Translated by Dule and edited by Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

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