Published: 11:06, February 5, 2024 | Updated: 11:13, February 5, 2024
PDF View
Exploitation of protected animals forbidden
By Yan Dongjie

Red-crowned cranes fly at a national wetland park in Zhangye, northwest China's Gansu province, Dec 15, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Authorities are taking stringent measures to stop the exploitation of protected animals amid booming winter tourism in northeastern China, following reports of red-crowned cranes and tiger cubs being used to entertain visitors in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces.

The forestry and grassland administrations in the two provinces have strictly forbidden inappropriate displays of animals under State protection, and have warned of legal and regulatory penalties for offenders.

According to a recent report, a red-crowned crane, which is an endangered species under first-class State protection, was sent from Heilongjiang's Hegang to Harbin, the provincial capital, to entertain tourists.

READ MORE: Legacy of 2022 Games boosts enthusiasm for winter tourism

Earlier reports indicated a similar inappropriate display of the rare birds, which were sent from Qiqihar, another city in Heilongjiang, to Harbin.

The surge in visits to Harbin this winter has been substantial, with the local culture and tourism bureau reporting record numbers.

During the three-day New Year holiday, the city registered over 3 million tourist visits, generating a record revenue of 5.9 billion yuan ($820 million).

Animal protection volunteers also voiced concerns over Changchun Zoo in Jilin sending Siberian tiger cubs to a hotel, allowing the cubs to interact closely with visitors.

The volunteers emphasized that both Siberian tigers and red-crowned cranes are under State protection, requiring official authorization for any interaction or display activities.

The Heilongjiang Forestry and Grassland Administration said that a red-crowned crane from Hegang was displayed at Harbin's Central Street on Jan 6 without administrative permission, but stressed that immediate steps were taken to stop it.

Authorities in Jilin instructed Changchun Zoo to immediately bring the tiger cubs home. The zoo said future animal displays and performances will strictly adhere to legal requirements.

ALSO READ: Zoo boss works his animal magic

Sun Yingdi, an animal protection volunteer, emphasized the importance of obtaining approval from authorities for interactions involving protected animals, citing the possibility of injury during transportation and aggressive behavior.

She urged improving public awareness of animal protection laws and encouraging people to actively participate in the oversight of wildlife conservation efforts.

In light of these incidents, Sun suggested strengthening the dissemination of information about laws and regulations related to animal protection, and promoting ecological knowledge at the same time.