On Thursday, the China Wildlife Conservation Association signed a public appeal urging people to refuse to put wild animal meat on dining tables, saying the increasing consumption is at the root of poaching and illegal trading.
According to a 1999 survey of 20,000 people by the State Forestry Administration and China Wildlife Conservation Association, nearly half of 1,381 restaurants across the country had wild animal meat on the menu, and 46 percent of respondents said they had eaten wild game.
The four-month poll was carried out in 21 large and medium-size cities, where people generally have more money to spend on such delicacies.
“Although years have passed, such strong demand for eating wild animals has not changed or faded in China,” said Zhao Shengli, deputy secretary-general of the association. “In fact, even more people, especially rich people, have started to eat them in recent years.”
The group’s appeal to the public comes after China Central Television reported that restaurants in hilly Zixi county, Jiangxi province, had State-protected wild animals on their menus, including macaques, badger pigs, Chinese bamboo rats and wild geese.
Footage from CCTV on Tuesday showed monkeys were killed illegally on mountains and sold at farmers markets, or gruesomely slaughtered and served in several restaurants.
Monkey meat can sell for 560 yuan ($90) per kg, while monkey brain can fetch 1,600 yuan per kg, according to the report.
On Wednesday, two men were detained, and authorities said more arrests were possible as the investigation continues. Four officials, including the county’s forestry bureau chief, have been sacked.
On the same day, authorities in Guangdong province said more than 1,300 restaurants and hotels and 102 people involved in poaching, transporting and trading migrant birds and other wild animals have been punished.
A series of strict campaigns against poaching and trading in endangered wild animals will be launched across the country in the coming days, Yan Xun, chief engineer of the department of wildlife conservation and nature reserve management of the State Forestry Administration, was quoted as saying by CCTV on Thursday.
China is abundant in wildlife. More than 10 percent of the world’s wild vertebrate species – more than 6,000 species – are found in China, according to the State Forestry Administration.
“But people in some parts of China maintain the centuries-old custom of eating exotic wildlife as a delicacy, which is a major reason for the severely declining number of wild animals now,” said Feng Zuojian, a researcher at the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“Refusing to eat wild animals is one of the signs of civilization. In many foreign countries, especially in Europe, there are no restaurants that serve wild animals,” he said.
Under the Chinese Criminal Law, those who illegally catch or kill endangered wildlife species can be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Animal rights campaigners are urging authorities to tighten supervision – and make punishments stronger – to eliminate poaching and illegal sales of wild animals.
- Chinese TV investigation leads to forestry officials sackings (wildlifenews.co.uk)
- Dutch government prepared to ban use of wild animals in circuses (timesofmalta.com)
- China vows to protect migratory birds (vancouverdesi.com)
- Arrests after wild animals ‘killed by hunting dogs’ (itv.com)
- Stop Shooting Harmless Wild Animals in North Carolina (forcechange.com)
- WILDLIFE UPDATE : Exotic animal trade thrives in China (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Poisoned rare Oriental storks trigger calls for intensified animal protection (wantchinatimes.com)
- Attractive Wildlife Animals (photospring.wordpress.com)
- Local wildlife important in human diet: Researchers (updatednews.ca)
- Raccoon tests positive for rabies (savannahnow.com)
|From BEIJING REVIEW:|
|Fewer children pursuing the sciences trigger concerns|
|By Wang Hairong|
Children are naturally curious about the world around them. The curiosity has motivated many future scientists to decide upon their career choice.
“Half a century ago, when asked what they wanted to do in the future, many Chinese children would have answered that they would like to be scientists,” said Shi Changshu, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) who received China‘s top science and technology award in 2010.
Unfortunately, it seems no longer the case in China today. Fewer children in the country reportedly are aspiring to become scientists when they grow up. Young people generally want to become either officials or entrepreneurs.
In recent years, many top high school graduates have chosen to study economics and business in university rather than mathematics, physics or chemistry.
In a summer camp hosted by Tsinghua University, one of China’s top universities, for middle school students this year, Yuan Qingling, a second-year student from a senior high school in Hebei Province, told Beijing Youth Daily that she had never thought of becoming a scientist despite winning the top prize in a national physics competition. Yuan’s cousin works in an investment bank and is highly praised by her family, so Yuan said she would like to follow her cousin’s example.
The International Mathematics Olympiads is an annual international mathematical contest for pre-collegiate students. Zhan Wenlong, Vice President of the CAS, once asked five Chinese medalists what they would like to study in university. To Zhan’s surprise, the five teenagers all said that they would like to study business management or finance.
Even for many young children in primary school, science is not a top choice. Two years ago, a journalist from news portal Nddaily.com interviewed first-grade primary students in Guangzhou, southern Guangdong Province, asking what they would like to be when they grow up.
After a variety of common answers such as painter, teacher or firefighter, the reporter got a shocking reply from a 6-year-old girl.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” the reporter asked.
“I want to be an official,” the girl said.
“What kind of official?” the reporter asked.
“…a corrupt official, because corrupt officials can live an extremely luxurious life,” the girl replied.
After a video clip of the interview was posted online, the girl’s answer sparked a heated discussion among netizens. The girl’s reply, they argued, was a simple reflection of what everyone already believes about government officials.
In September 2011, the China Association for Science and Technology released the results of a survey on career objectives of primary and middle school students.
The survey involving 1,180 primary and middle school students showed that of the nine listed professions, including teacher, civil servant and scientist, the latter ranked seventh, just ahead of farmer. Civil servant ranked first.
Han Qide, chairman of the association, said that children’s diversified choices reflect reality, but also found the results to be worrisome.
The survey’s administer, Wang Tingda, is a researcher with the CAS. He said that a country’s national prestige is ultimately measured by its strength in science and technology.
The scientist Shi warned that too few people in China are devoted to basic research. He said that although one may toil for years without making a significant breakthrough in basic research, it lays the foundation for future achievements.
Shi added that a society in which people are eager for quick success cannot be really innovative. “To build a strong country, more creative work is necessary,” he said.
- Some Thoughts on Facilitating Science Communication by Scientists (scilogs.com)
- Computer Scientist Turned Artist (theepochtimes.com)
- WILDLIFE UPDATE : Exotic animal trade thrives in China (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- China censors websites as it denounces report on Wen Jiabao’s billion-dollar family fortune (telegraph.co.uk)
- What Does a Scientist Look Like? (phippsscienceeducation.org)
- Gender Bias Cited As Reason Why Women Don’t Pursue Science Jobs (sciencedaily.com)
- Obama is still the best hope for science in the US (newscientist.com)
From China Daily | https://twitter.com/#!/LearnFromNature
Most big cities in China still failed to publish adequate pollution information in 2011despite the gradual establishment and consolidation of a nationwide environmental protectiontransparency mechanism, a newly published report found.
Only 19 out of 113 cities got a passing score of 60 out of 100, based on the Pollution InformationTransparency Index, jointly developed by the Beijing-based Institute of Public and EnvironmentalAffairs (IPE) and US-based Natural Resources Defense Council.
The average score was 40. But the result is already an improvement compared to the average of31 for 2008, when the study was first conducted, and 36 for 2009 and 2010.
“This shows an environmental transparency mechanism (has been in the process of) beingestablished in China since the country mandated by law the publication of pollution information in2008,” said Ma Jun, director of IPE. “But we’re still at a very initial stage, especially with more than10 cities scoring less than 20.”
Zhu Xiao, an associate professor with the law school at Renmin University of China, said themajority of the 113 cities still failed to fully abide by the laws and regulations on pollutioninformation disclosure. “If they do, they can easily get a score around 65,” said Zhu, who wasinvolved in designing the index.
Ningbo of Zhejiang province and Shenzhen of Guangdong province topped the transparencyranking, scoring over 80, with other cities in the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta alsoachieving big breakthroughs in 2011, the report found.
But some major polluting provinces, such as Shandong and Sichuan, and the Inner Mongoliaautonomous region, were criticized over their poor performance with regard to publishing pollutioninformation.
“For instance, Shandong province, the country’s biggest emitter of sulfur dioxide and nitrogenoxide (two major air pollutants), even saw some of its cities regressing on information disclosure,”said Ma.
Cities in western China are generally lagging behind on publishing pollution information. This isseen as cause for concern because the development of the country’s vast and ecologically fragilewestern region has already brought with it polluting industries.
Environmental experts found that the stubbornness of those local governments that withholdpollution information is the major obstacle.
Dai Renhui, partner of Beijing Huanzhu Law Firm, which focuses on environmental lawsuits, said allhis attempts to apply for pollution information from county-level governments had failed.
Liu Shuai, from the environmental protection committee at Hunan provincial people’s congress, hadsimilar experiences in the province, which has been hardest hit by heavy-metal pollution.
“This is because some local officials are still obsessed with making decisions without listening topublic opinion and some are simply afraid that publishing pollution information will reveal problemsand cause themselves trouble,” Liu said.
- Pollution : Industries top cause in China (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Wildlife Update : Poachers have market …. in China (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- China’s green transparency progress (guardian.co.uk)
- Pollution Update : Dirty air costs Europe billions (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Pollution Update : Da Vinci’s Last Supper faces new threat of damage (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Pollution Update : Weather debate shrouded in fog (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- China cancer village tests law against pollution (reuters.com)
- China Cancer Village Tests Reach of Law Against Pollution (scientificamerican.com)
- You: Shandong Economy Affected by Foxconn Move (menafn.com)
- Growing People Power – Netizens are changing China for the better (seeingredinchina.com)
From China Daily The “Koala meat” that shocked an Australian tourist who saw it on a menu in Guangzhou last week turned out to be bamboo rat mislabeled for a promotion, according to the restaurant managers.
One of the tourists even phoned a radio station in Australia to report his discovery, as well as the fact that a live koala was being exhibited in an iron cage in front of the restaurant in Hotel Fisher, according to the Guangzhou-based New Express Daily.
Hotel Fisher is known for its seafood and wildlife cuisine in Guangzhou, a city celebrated for its delicious dishes.
According to the menu, 500 grams of koala meat sold at 139 yuan (US$20).
“Koala meat can be fried, stewed and steamed,” read the restaurant menu, the Australian tourist was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
But Lin Aizhen, deputy general manager of the restaurant, denied the restaurant sold koala meat dishes and other cuisines cooked with wildlife that is under State protection.
“The Australian tourist was actually the victim of a false alarm, as the restaurant never sells koala,” Lin said.
Huang Ritong, manager of the restaurant’s purchasing department, said the animal displayed in front of the restaurant was actually a bamboo rat, which was purchased from the bordering Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region the previous month.
The restaurant purchased two bamboo rats weighing 5 to 6 kilograms each, and a kilogram of the bamboo rat changed hands at 80 yuan, Huang said.
“The bamboo rat was labeled as koala because the seller mistook the bamboo rat as a koala,” he told New Express Daily.
An official from Guangzhou’s Wildlife Protection Office also denied the restaurant sold koala meat.
“The animal exhibited in front of the restaurant is not a koala, despite being alike in appearances,” an unnamed official was quoted as saying. “Koalas have round ears while the animal exhibited in the restaurant has only small ears, and the color of its fur is also quite different from that of a koala.”
“Koalas mainly eat eucalyptus leaves and live in eucalyptus trees while the animal exhibited eats carrot,” the official said.
Koalas are protected by laws and regulations on the mainland and those who illegally slaughter and cook koala meat would be punished, he added.
Many local residents also refused to believe the restaurant sold koala meat dishes.
Chen Guanxiong, a white-collar worker, said he did not believe that restaurants in Guangzhou sold meat dishes offering up the cute koala.
“Too many fake products, including meats, have been found in the province in recent years,” Chen told China Daily. “Now, few Cantonese people are still proud of eating wildlife meat dishes, or think wildlife dishes are a tonic, after they experienced the outbreak of fatal SARS in 2003.”
SARS, which killed thousands of people around the world, was first detected in Guangdong. The virus that lead to SARS was finally found to hide in the masked civet, which used to be popular in local restaurants.
Guangzhou became the first mainland city to have koalas after the city’s Xiangjiang Safari Park in Panyu district imported three males and three females from Australia in April 2006.
The world’s first koala twins were born at the park in 2006.
According to a staff member from the Xiangjiang Safari Park, it now has 22 koalas from four generations.
“All the koalas are now living in their luxury homes and being well taken care of in the park,” said the staff.
Koalas are the park’s major attraction to tourists and local residents, he added.
- Chinese Restaurant Offers Robust Menu, Including…Koala? (weirdasianews.com)
- Koala Facts (socialmediat00036729.wordpress.com)
- Need more support for the koala (fromthewildthings.wordpress.com)
- Does a koala live by itself or in groups (wiki.answers.com)
- The only thing cuter than a cuddly Koala is a cuddly BABY Koala! (blahbethany.com)
- ‘Braised’ or ‘stewed’ koalas on menu (heraldsun.com.au)
- What do koalas eat and why (wiki.answers.com)
- Slug-gunned koala to make full recovery (news.theage.com.au)