Poaching of China’s native animal species is on the rise, with birds and other migratory animals the target.
A spokesperson for the State Forestry Administration said the government is taking action to end the illegal capture and sale of wildlife across the country.
On October 15, residents near Panggezhuang, Daxing told Tencent News that bird sellers at Panggezhuang Market were poaching birds in the nearby woods. They also sold nets to people who preferred to catch their own birds.
Yang Han, a volunteer at the avian protection group Let Birds Fly, told reporters it was common to see poachers operating in the area.
Tecent sent reporters into the woods the next day, and they quickly discovered a large net supported on 3-meter posts. The net was constructed of soft nylon and measured some 30 meters across and 3 meters tall.
The net consisted of many layers from bottom to top. When birds crashed into the net, they fell off into the traps. Reporters found six birds on the net. Some were struggling to fly, but most were dead.
When Yang Han and reporters attempted to free the birds, a man rushed out and yelled at them. Once he learned they were reporters, he ran away carrying a second red mesh net. Yang said the red net was used for carrying away any trapped birds.
Farmer nearby said the poachers were from another village and came every day. The area is home to many fruit orchards that attract birds.
While walking in the fields, reporters overheard one man shouting to another to ask if he had caught any siskins, a small bird of the finch family.
Yang Han said his organization started to rescue birds in September. They have organized rescue efforts throughout the capital’s outskirts. Many small markets resemble the situation at Panggezhuang.
At Beidi Temple in Tongzhou, Yang found 15 nets in a reed field and saw 100 hundred birds on the nets, most of which were dead. He spent a whole day rescuing the birds whose claws and feathers were seriously damaged.
ThePaper.cn also reported on October 19 that animal protection volunteers in Jinzhou, Liaoning province found more than 200 bird traps in a peanut field in Laigong, a village in Liaotuo County, Beizhen. About 40 dead birds were found near the traps.
Rong Jing, a volunteer at a local bird protection organization, said local residents found more than 20 birds in the same field that were killed by poison on October 17.
Among the dead birds were skylarks and paddyfield pipits. Some were cut along the waist by the traps. Others had blood oozing from their beaks and nares.
A taxi driver at Panggezhuang Market said he often went to Fangshan District to poach wild birds. The driver said he knew no one would arrest him, so he went even though he knew it was illegal.
The driver said he kept some birds as pet. When he found sparrows, he would pluck and eat them. He sold others birds at the market.
At Panggezhuang Market, the birds for sale included Siberian rubythroats, bluethroats, willow warblers and others priced from 8 yuan to 100 yuan.
Nets intended for poaching were sold at a price of 8 yuan for 8 meters of netting.
According to Legal Evening, the State Forestry Administration is organizing net clearing events to tackle the growing problem of poaching. Forestry officials will be cracking down on the use of nets during the next 40 days.
The action is focused on the trapping of migratory birds who pass through Beijing on their way to breeding, wintering and resting places. Chen Fengxue, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration, said there will be more inspectors deployed to prevent the use of nets and poisons.
Chen also called for close cooperation between forestry departments, public security, businesses, and the transportation and railway departments to prevent wildlife from ending up in restaurants or markets.
Online trade of wild animals will also be supervised.
Local government in places where poaching is prevalent are being asked to sign a pledge that explains their responsibilities and why wildlife must be protected, Chen said.