China revises wildlife protection laws, tightens regulations on artificial breeding, invasive species

A Guizhou snub-nosed monkey is seen with a cub at a wildlife rescue center in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, June 16, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

A draft revision of Chinese law has been submitted for consideration to improve wildlife protection in various aspects, including artificial breeding, habitat protection and voluntary release of wild animals.

The wildlife protection law revision bill was submitted to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for a second reading on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the project, a classification management system for artificial breeding should be established. The draft says it requires official licenses to engage in the artificial breeding of wild animals under national priority protection, and the artificial breeding of animals identified by authorities as being of ecological, scientific and vital social needs to be registered.

Artificial breeding is a preventive measure to save endangered wild animals. It aims to expand artificial populations and introduce them into the wild, Sun Quanhui, a scientist with the World Animal Welfare Organization, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The offspring of some artificial breeding efforts, such as monkeys, tigers and bears, are also used in medical experiments and as an ingredient for traditional Chinese medicine in China, experts say.

Zhang Wei, a professor at the College of Wildlife Resources of Northeast Forestry University in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, said the revisions are in line with the country’s efforts to encourage the artificial breeding of wild animals in order to protect them and avoid the exploitation of wild animals. those in the wild.

China has established a level-to-level classification management system for artificial wildlife breeding years ago. But the latest draft has clarified different management modalities for the artificial breeding of wild animals under national priority protection and for animals of vital ecological, scientific and social importance.

The revision will help simplify procedures for the artificial breeding of animals of vital ecological, scientific and social significance, Zhang said.

In the draft, Chinese lawmakers also proposed to strengthen the protection of wildlife habitats and clarify the responsibilities of governments at different levels in conservation work.

Governments at the provincial or higher level will designate important wildlife habitats as part of national parks and other protected areas, in order to protect, restore and enhance the living environment for wildlife.

Governments at county level or above must assess the impact on wildlife and wildlife habitats when drawing up development plans, in order to prevent or reduce possible adverse consequences.

Experience around the world has proven that not all species can be reproduced artificially. Thus, the most effective measure to protect and save endangered species is always to protect their habitats and eliminate threats to their life in the wild, Sun noted.

The draft stipulates that people will be held civilly liable if they release wild animals that injure other people, damage their property or destroy the environment.

Any organization or individual that releases wild animals should choose species suitable for life in the local wild environment. Animal behavior should not disrupt the daily life and production of local residents, or destroy the local ecology, the draft reads.

In recent days, several alligator fish, an imported species, have been found in many places in China, including the capital Beijing, Henan Province (central China) and Jiangsu Province (east).

Being aggressive and having no natural enemies in China, the fish, which entered Chinese waters, will seriously threaten the survival of local fish, experts have warned.

The issue drew public attention to the nagging issue of the illegal import, release or abandonment of alien species. According to Chinese law, those who commit such violations risk up to three years in prison.

Zhu Haoning contributed to this story