On September 12th, the “Zhejiang Rainbow Sun Foundation – Morelovecat Special Fund” was founded, and various leaders in academia, corporate, and public welfare foundations attended the founding ceremony.
The growing problem of urban stray cats is detrimental to the urban ecosystem and public health. At the same time, the rapid reproduction of stray cats further aggravates the problem. Besides, due to the unsuitable living environment, fear, and lack of food and water, etc., the life span of stray cats is said to be generally shorter than three years.
As one of the most common stray animals in the city, stray cats have been cared for and rescued by many people. However, the words and actions of extreme supporters or opposers of stray rescue have sparked heated discussion in Chinese society.
In mainland China, because of the current lack of animal protection law, few official organizations have joined in the urban stray cats’ rescue and management. Strays are more likely to be taken in and cared for by non-governmental organizations.
The Morelovecat Special Fund aims to promote an urban stray cat 100% protection program to help stray cats find homes. The Fund’s mission is to protect the strays every step of the way, from their initial wandering stage to their final homes.
At the end of the founding ceremony, the sponsors of the Special Fund released the “Morelovecat Novice Pack” to support new cat owners. The pack contains essential pet supplies such as seven days of cat food, cat litter, and food and water bowls.
Next, they will release information about stray cats through online platforms. They will also seek out prospective cat owners and organize free lectures to promote the urban stray cat 100% protection program.
It is great to see an increasing number of NGOs in China engaging in stray animal management. Although the effort has become more organized, official support is crucial. There is still a lot of work for China to do, but great news has come.
On September 25th, the official website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China published the “Response to Recommendation No. 5074 of the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress”, in response to the National People’s Congress’ “Suggestion of the Enactment of the Law on the Prohibition of Cruelty to Animals”. The Response states that it is necessary to develop legislation to combat animal cruelty and other acts that are widely opposed by the public.
On September 20th, the Public Security Bureau of Jingjia County of Shijiazhuang City, together with the local police station, patrolled the surrounding mountain area and determined to strengthen the local wildlife protection force further.
The county situates in the deep mountainous area of Ceyu and borders two provinces and five counties. The area is densely forested, and there are various wild species. Some of the local wild animals, such as boars, lynxes, foxes, and hares, have severely damaged the villagers’ crops. As a result, some locals have been hunting them down with hatred, and some locals also hunt them for the profit of wildlife products.
Starting from June this year, the campaign “Drawing the Sword 2019” has brought the local police station to pay special attention to wildlife crimes.
During the campaign, the police conducted in-depth surveys on 19 villages, educating the local people about wildlife and raising their awareness of protecting wildlife resources. Examples of locals convicted of wildlife crimes facing punishment were used to explain the laws. The locals are also encouraged to report suspected wildlife crimes. The policemen carefully patrolled and investigated the local food industry, collected intelligence from multiple sources, and followed after the information to track down the traffickers.
The police station has so far removed a total of 25 hunting clips, one set of fishing nets, and electric fish tools, further eliminating the hidden dangers that are endangering local wildlife.
A hippo finished its 10kg “forage mooncake”, and the snub-nosed monkey got a “fruit mooncake”… September 13th was the Mid-Autumn Festival in China. Adorable animals in Safari Park, Shenzhen, also celebrated this special day with their unique custom-made “mooncake”. At 9 a.m., the zookeeper made special “mooncakes” according to the feeding habits of the animals. All the “mooncakes” were not only different in sizes and style but also varied in their ingredients.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festival in China on August 15th on the lunar calendar. It is the day for family reunions, symbolized by the full moon that night. The mooncake, usually made of rice, grains, or lotus, is the reflection of the full moon on the food.
The snub-nosed monkeys and ring-tailed lemurs are primates. Zookeepers used a doughy pie skin and filled it with the animals’ favorite food like apples, bananas, grapes, jujubes, peanuts, and boiled eggs to make “fruit mooncakes”.
The elephants and hippos are large herbivores that eat a lot, so their “forage mooncakes” were much larger than the “fruit mooncakes” for the primates: one “forage mooncake” weighed 10kg (about 22 pounds). The “forage mooncakes” were made of elephant grass, carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, and alfalfa pellets.
The animals welcomed these unique “mooncakes”. The 10kg “forage mooncake” quickly disappeared as the smart elephant rolled its agile snorts around it. The hippo opened its mouth wide to gorge the whole “forage mooncake” at once. The ring-tailed lemurs had their mouth watering at the “mooncake feast”: they promptly gathered around and enjoyed the meal. The snub-nosed monkeys were more curious about the “fruit mooncakes”, sniffing around it carefully before digging in.
Shenzhen Safari Park has been organizing animal mooncake activities every Mid-Autumn Festival since 2011. The materials for the mooncake were all designed based on the animals’ typical diets. These “mooncakes” satisfied the animals’ appetite while ensuring safety and nutritional needs.
Tibetan antelope has finished this year’s migration season recently. Statistics from Sanjiangyuan National Park showed that a total of 4,860 antelopes were seen migrating back to their habitats, 338 more than the number in 2018.
A Class I state-protected animal, Tibetan antelope mainly inhabit the nature reserves in the provinces of the Tibetan plateau such as Xinjiang, Tibet, and Qinghai. Their mating season is around December and females will give birth in June or July after a gestation period of roughly 200 days. Every May, pregnant Tibetan antelopes migrate across the plateau to the calving ground near Zonag Lake in Hoh Xil, situated more than 4800m above sea level. The mothers will return to their original home with the newborns in August.
The Sanjiangyuan National Park Hoh Xil office conducts frequent and intensive patrols depending on the seasonal activities of animals. Besides, the park undergoes additional annual anti-crime campaigns to protect Tibetan antelope and other rare animals in Hoh Xil.
Thanks to China’s conservation efforts, Tibetan antelope’s habitat has been improving in recent years. According to conservation officers working in Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve, there was no evidence of poaching this year. They estimate that Tibetan antelope’s population had recovered to around 70,000 in the surrounding areas of Hoh Xil Natural Reserve since 2009 vs. less than 20,000 during the 1990s when poaching was rampant in this area.
On July 22, the public security bureau of forestry had a report from the local people that someone was hunting wild animals in Zhongbao, a town in Hubei, China. After investigation, the police arrested the criminal, Wang, who kept a dead tufted deer, 42 traps, and ten sets of steel wire in his home.
After interrogation, Wang admitted using hunting tools founded in his house to hunt wild animals. His behavior violated the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, and he was suspected of killing wildlife. Criminals convicted of such crime would have a three-year set term of imprisonment and a fine. Wang was arrested and detained by the local forest police on July 23. Now, the case is in process. To protect wildlife resources and the ecosystem, the local public security bureau started cracking down criminal exploitation of wildlife. Since then, the bureau had opened five criminal cases related to illegal behavior regarding wild animals.
Investigation in markets and restaurants
In a special operation to prevent wildlife trade and processing, the forest police cooperated with the market regulatory body to check on all local markets and restaurants. Individually, they investigated the side roads and touristy restaurants, especially the ones with “wildlife” advertisements and menus. In the meantime, the forest police cooperated with forestry and market authorities to comprehensively investigate wild animal farms, habitats, places with abundant wildlife, and high-risk places of poaching.
Furthermore, they allied with the traffic police, which checked on vehicles, passengers, and goods to investigate illegal wildlife trafficking. Criminals convicted of wildlife trafficking in China would face a five-year or ten-years set term of imprisonment, a fine, and confiscation of property.
So far, the forest police opened five wildlife’s criminal cases and seven wildlife administrative cases, arrested 12 criminals, called seven people into court, and confiscated 100 wild animals of diverse species.
A new member joins the hippo family of a zoo in Jinan, China.
On July the 7th, the Wild World Jinan joyfully announced that the hippo mother has successfully delivered a baby hippo at 5 am. From then on, the star couple of the animal world, hippos “Nan Nan” and “Fei Fei” has officially become a family of three.
The happy couple traveled across the ocean from South Africa to their current home, Wild World Jinan, in 2015. The two hippos were named “Nan Nan” and “Fei Fei” because their origin, South Africa, is pronounced as “Nan Fei” in Mandarin. Now, Nan Nan and Fei Fei are both adults at five years old.
The staff in charge of hippos said that the hippo calf was born on the bank after the mother reached the full term of pregnancy. The healthy newborn then moved into the pond. Though a first-time mother, Fei Fei made it through 240 days of gestation and now maintains a strong maternal instinct. Currently, she is focusing on taking care of the baby in the delivery room prepared by the staff. She has to stay close to her offspring to keep feeding it. The baby hippo will not start to eat grass until 4-6 months, and the mother will continue breastfeeding for almost a year. Since the baby hippo cannot get on the bank, for now, it is hard to determine its gender. The baby hippo will meet with visitors in the outdoor exhibition when it can feed on grass.
The gestation of hippos usually lasts eight months, and mothers only give birth to one calf at a time. Just before the birth of the baby, the mother will leave the herd alone. The baby is usually be born under water and will spend three to four weeks with the mother before returning to the herd. While all the female hippos will help with rearing the calf, the mother hippo will still holds the significant responsibilities of raising the calf. Hippos are social animals, and all the female hippos will stick together to protect their babies from any possible danger.
On June 20th, a Shenzhen citizen reported in an open letter to the city about the death of stray dogs due to poor management at a local dog shelter. The message showed dogs in abominable conditions. The majority of the dogs were sick or starving, and emaciated bodies of dead dogs laid around the facility.
That afternoon, the Shenzhen Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau made a spot check and demanded the dog shelter to rectify the existing problems immediately. Later, the Bureau held a press conference to report the situation and announced that they are building a new shelter facility up to international standards.
This year, Shenzhen focuses on improving dog management. The new “Trap, Neuter, Adopt” (TNA) Project aims to resolve the stray dog problem in the city. The Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau will standardize the management of stray dogs as well as encourage adoptions. For example, the Bureau requires all dogs to receive injections of microchips, which prevents losing pets and holds owners accountable for the dogs’ behavior.
In recent years, due to an increasing number of dog attacks in urban public spaces, Chinese municipal governments have initiated rigorous control of pets and stray dogs.
Last November, the Chengdu Police Department began to seize and dispose of 22 breeds of banned dogs in the city’s dog-restricted area.
Hangzhou government also carried out a governance action plan of pet dog control, prohibiting dog-walking from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. and imposing fines for unleashed walks and unregistered pet dogs.
In fact, to regulate pet dog ownership and prevent dog attacks, Chinese cities have implemented dog restrictions for many years.
As early as the 1990s, cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Wuhan were the first to introduce dog management measures. After merely a decade, dog management measures have been widely adopted in China. The regulations often put specific restrictions on the time and location of dog walks, the number of dogs owned, as well as the height and breed of the pet dogs. Many dog lovers have voiced their concerns that these regulations are unreasonable and cause unnecessary suffering for certain kinds of dogs. Under such circumstances, whether it is necessary to formulate a unified law across China to regulate pet ownership has become a popular topic for the public.
During the 2018 National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Qian Yefang, standing director of the Chinese Society of Social Law and a professor at the law school of Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, drew up the “Companion Animal Protection Act”, hoping to promote relevant legislation. Liu Chen, a scholar at the School of Public Administration and Media, Guilin University of Technology, also expressed recently the necessity of legislation concerning pet ownership in the public area to guide pet owners under the law.
On June 4, one day before World Environment Day, Shaanxi Higher People’s Court published five landmark environmental legal cases on its website. The case in which two men killed a crested ibis with slingshots caught people’s attention. The two defendants were sentenced to 10 years’ and eight years’ prison respectively for illegal hunting and killing of rare and endangered wild animals with aggravating circumstances.
According to the records from China Judgements Online, on June 1, 2016, defendants Hao and Feng shot a sizeable white bird near a river in Yaoyu Village, Yaozhou District, disregarding a passing villager’s warning that the bird is protected by law and he would report their actions to the police. The white bird screamed while running on the grass. After shooting the bird a second time with the slingshot, Feng wrapped the bird with his clothes and took the bird into the car.
On their way back, Feng noticed the bird was wearing a foot ring with code. For fear of being investigated, Feng threw the injured bird into the river. Hao complained that they could have stewed and eaten the bird after hearing that the bird was thrown away.
Later, the white bird was found and taken to the local Wildlife Conservation and Management Station by the workers there. However, the rescue failed, and the bird died. The bird was identified as a crested ibis, a species on the State Protection List. The cause of death was a human attack, which caused severe injuries in the bird’s neck and chest, as well as fractures in its left wing with excessive bleeding.
The local People’s Court held the trial of Feng and Hao and ruled that they deliberately shot a crested ibis, which is under the state’s special protection, with a slingshot, and abandoned the injured bird instead of rescuing it, leading to its death. Their action constitutes the crime of illegal hunting and killing of rare and endangered wild animals, and the circumstances of their crimes are severe, according to the court. Feng was convicted of illegal hunting and killing of rare and endangered wild animals and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, with a 3,000 yuan fine. Hao was convicted of the same crime and sentenced to eight years imprisonment, with a 3,000 yuan fine.
The two defendants filed an appeal against the sentencing. The local People’s Court held a retrial and subsequently rejected the appeal, upholding the original judgment.
According to Shaanxi High People’s Court, the crested ibis is one of the least abundant bird species in the world. It is under special state protection with high ecological, social, and cultural values. The People’s Court’s sentence for the two defendants reflected the principle to prosecute environmental crimes severely, highlighted the independent status of the environmental law, and achieved the deterrence and educational purpose of the law. Such a case would have a profound impact on wildlife conservation and the maintenance of ecological security.
In response to the media release of the case, many netizens commented that the defendants deserve the criminal charges as crested ibis is an endangered species. However, some also questioned the severity of the sentence for shooting one bird.
According to the High People’s Court, killing one crested ibis will be regarded as “especially severe” when determining the severity of cases of illegally catching, killing, purchasing, transporting or selling wild animal species under special state protection.
According to Article 341 of Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, if the protected species was rare or near extinction, any person who catches, kills, illegally purchases, transports or sells the species and their products shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of no more than five years or criminal detention and concurrently be punished with a fine. If the circumstances are severe, the offender shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of five to ten years with a fine. If the circumstances are especially severe, the offender shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years and concurrently be sentenced with a fine or confiscation of property.
Ankang is a city in Shaanxi Province, Northwest China. It has a beautiful ecological environment and a wide variety of rare wild animals. A few days ago in Ankang, an owlet was caught in torrential rain. Fortunately, it received timely assistance from a good Samaritan.
According to Mr. Xie, the concerned citizen who helped the owlet, he found the owlet cowering on the side of the road. It was particularly windy that day, so he speculated that the owl might have fallen from the tree and become injured. Worried about the bird’s safety, Mr. Xie quickly brought the owlet to the local police station. The police then brought the owlet to the Wildlife Rescue Station of the Ankang Natural Forest Protection Center at once.
“After inspection, the owlet did not sustain any injuries, but it was still too young to fly. We would send it to the Bird Garden for the time being until it could return to the wild,” said Zhou Liping, the director of the Wildlife Rescue Station, “the professional rescue staff would take care of the owlet and then return it to nature.”‘Zhou told the reporter that the public’s awareness of wildlife protection had been gradually increasing. The city’s Wildlife Rescue Station receives five or six comparable cases every month.
Zhou advised the general public to take special care when helping wildlife. “If you found a wild animal with no noticeable abnormalities, try not to disturb it, and do not try to catch it. It may simply be resting. If you try to catch it, it might get hurt. If a wild animal has an obvious injury, such as a broken wing and a scratched body, you can send it to the local police station, or you can call our helpline directly, and we will help.”
To promote the wildlife protection, the Wildlife Rescue Station of the Ankang Natural Forest Protection Center has held many outreach activities such as “Love Birds Week” and “Spring of Science and Technology” this year.
As of June this year, the Wildlife Rescue Station has received more than 20 rescue calls from the public, and more than 20 wild animals have been rescued and released. Among them, there were national first-class protected animals such as the crested ibis and golden eagle.