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

Plant-based meats become an investment hotspot — Sophie’s Kitchen perfects its manufacture process to sell plant-based seafood to European and American markets

With the continuous growth of the global population, it has become increasingly difficult to produce enough meat to satisfy global demands. Moreover, animal agriculture and meat processing also damage the environment.

Therefore, 100 % plant-based meats that look and taste exactly like real meat has begun to emerge.

How big is the market for plant-based meats? It is reported that 4% of the world’s population are vegetarians, and this number is on the rise. According to the Vegetarian Association, the U.S. plant-based meat market in 2016 was worth $5 billion and contributed $13.7 billion in sales to the U.S. economy. This is only the U.S. data. The plant-based meat industries in the UK, France, Germany, and other countries are also developing rapidly.

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We learned that the research and development of plant-based protein products and their producers, including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, have received tremendous financial support, and the number of new companies is also increasing. But these companies place more focus on replacing normal meat products.

Sophie’s Kitchen, which has recently drawn attention from 36Kr, expressed interest in another vertical market for plant-based meats — plant-based seafood, which uses vegan raw materials to mimic the taste, smell, and nutrition of seafood.

Yaoxin Wang, the founder of Sophie’s Kitchen, told the reporter from 36Kr that he chose to enter the seafood market because many people from all over the world are allergic to seafood, and the demand is relatively strong.

According to an epidemiological survey, the number of people allergic to seafood products in the United States has reached 6.9 million, accounting for 2.3% of its total population. The epidemiological survey of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incident rate of food allergies in Chinese adults is as high as 6%. The survey identified the major allergens as seafood products and eggs. In addition, the seafood meat structure is more difficult to imitate and has certain technical thresholds.

Sophie’s Kitchen focuses on the imitation of seafood meat structure. This technology is relatively mature. The raw material it uses to substitute fish meat is pea protein powder, and the raw material for substituting soft shell seafood is konjac and seaweed powder. Wang told 36 Kr that they applied for a number of patents for the processing technology. The production process of soft shell seafood substitutes completely differs from the production process of fish substitutes. After completing the imitation of the fleshy structure, Sophie’s Kitchen will optimize taste and nutrients in the next step.

Sophie’s Kitchen’s products are processed in a factory in Taiwan, with a capacity of about 10 tons per month, mainly producing seafood and plant-based meat products. Its products have successfully entered more than 1,000 European and American supermarkets through vendors, with an annual revenue of about 1 million USD.

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Wang told 36 Kr that although their products generate high profits, Sophie’s Kitchen is still limited by the scale of its business and is looking for U.S. investments to finance its expansion. He hopes to increase its number of product carriers to 2,000 and generate a profit of 2 million USD in 2018.

Unlike other plant-based seafood producers who target the restaurant industry, Sophie’s Kitchen mainly sells products through supermarkets.

The Sophie’s Kitchen team currently consists of four people. Its CEO Yaoxin Wang has an MBA from the Columbia Business School, as well as over 20 years of experience in plant-based manufacturing.

All information and photos come from Jiuchisu:https://www.jiuchisu.com/NeWs/17447.htm

Translated by Jiajia Han and Sherry Yao, and edited by Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

The 2018 International Alliance of Protected Areas Annual Meeting

From September 13-14, the 2018 International Alliance of Protected Areas Annual Meeting was held in the Baekdu Mountains.

The meeting mainly focused on the role of natural protected areas as the human ecological safety bottomline. Scientists from different countries delivered presentations on different research areas and had a conversation on the functions of ecosystems and the management of protected areas.

The Baekdu Mountains, also called the Changbai Mountains in Chinese, is located in Jilin Province in northeastern China. It is famous for its unique cultural heritage and biodiversity. In the meeting, the Jilin Province representative emphasized the ecological importance of the Baekdu Mountains ecosystems and hoped to further enhance international communication and cooperation on future environmental protection plans.

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In the conference, Wenhua Xiong, Director of the Office of the International Society of Zoological Sciences, the Secretary of the East African Wildlife Insurance Association, and the Nature Guardian Wildlife Development and Research Center jointly signed a tripartite cooperation memorandum, further promoting the development of wildlife conservation in both Africa and China.

Translated by Dule and edited by Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

All information and photos come from People.cn: http://env.people.com.cn/n1/2018/0914/c1010-30294686.html

The 2018 International Conference for Snow Leopard Conservation

Since the 2013 Global Snow Leopard Forum, snow leopard range countries and international partners have actively promoted the implementation of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Conservation Plan (GSLEP) and achieved remarkable results. However, this species is still threatened by habitat degradation, climate change, poaching, etc. Insufficient knowledge on its status and population is a roadblock for future conservation efforts.

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Following the 3rd meeting of the Steering Committee Meeting of GSLEP in June 2018, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China (NFGA), National Park Administration (NPA), together with China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province, held the next International Conference for Snow Leopard Conservation (ICSC) in Shenzhen, China from September 3rd -7th.

Government representatives, snow leopard conservation scholars from different research areas, and frontline staff were all invited to the conference. They all came from different countries in Central and South Asia (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), where most snow leopards are distributed in.

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Koustubh Sharma, a representative from the Instruction Office of Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP)

The conference aimed to provide a platform for exchanging experience and knowledge to further enhance the academic and political communications between different countries, as well as to promote research on snow leopards conservation.

Another goal of the conference was to reach the “Shenzhen Consensus,” to bring all the governments together to collaborate on snow leopard conservation in the future. “Shenzhen Consensus” has been approved without opposition in the conference on September 5th.

The conference mainly focused on the following topics:

1. The population density and distribution of snow leopards and their preys
2. The threats snow leopards in different countries and areas are currently facing
3. The regular and developing methods used to study snow leopards
4. Interspecies relationships in the habitats of snow leopards and the ecological importance of snow leopards in these ecosystems
5. Species conservation based in local communities
6. Successful examples of snow leopards conservation

Information gathered by Huiyuan Qi, as well as from Dute News

All photos taken by Huiyuan Qi

Translated by Dule and edited by Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

Chimelong Safari Park launches “AR Zoo” in 2018

On July 31st, Chimelong and Baidu jointly held an event to officially launch the “Chimelong AR Zoo” app, an ongoing collaborative project. The two companies are working together to build the very first AR Zoo in the world, providing future visitors with more diverse ways to tour the park.

According to the meeting, the new app is a product of the developing Augmented Reality technology. It is based on many AI techniques from Baidu, such as AR rendering and image recognition. The project has just released the app’s first three main services, including Animal Introduction, AR Camera, and AR Walking Navigation.

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“Animal Introduction” can automatically explain information about animals during the tour. The app also enables visitors to feed and control the movements of the animals, enhancing the interaction between tourists and animals.

“AR Camera” can enable visitors to go on virtual tours around the park and interact with rare species. It also allows visitors to take photos with animals.

“AR Walking Navigation” provides a map of all the buildings and exhibitions in the park, helping the visitors find their way quickly.

Nianhan Wang, the vice CEO of Chimelong, states that the two companies will have more collaborative, innovative projects to provide more smart services for enhancing the visitors’ experiences.

All information and photos come from Bendibao.com: http://m.gz.bendibao.com/tour/242918.html.

Translated by Lele and edited by Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue