Revised wildlife law aims to prevent harm to people

China Daily Updated: 2022-09-03

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Bao Mingwei, a veterinarian from Wild Elephant Valley in Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, Yunnan, inspects elephants in the wild. [Photo/Xinhua]

The draft revision of the Wildlife Protection Law, which was submitted for review on Tuesday, added provisions on preventing damage caused by wild animals in order to stop conflicts with people.

The draft revision, submitted to the National People's Congress Standing Committee for a second reading, said that local governments should mitigate the range of wild animal populations to prevent them from causing harm to people's lives and properties such as crops.

They should also build separation facilities to prevent potential damage caused by wild animals, the revision said.

The central government will subsidize expenses for these measures, as well as compensate people who suffer loss caused by wild animals that are protected under the law, it said.

People who take proper methods to harm wild animals in case of a life-threatening emergency do not need to assume legal responsibility according to the law, it said.

The current Wildlife Protection Law was enacted in 1988 and was revised in 2004, 2009, 2016 and 2018.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy director of Hong Kong's Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, said the principle of protecting wild animals lies in coexistence of the people and animals and is not an absolute value that can be separated from people's life and production.

"For example, increasing the number of wild boars has caused severe negative impacts on people's production and life, especially on agriculture," she said.

Last year, wild boars were planned to be removed from the revised catalog of terrestrial animals with important ecological, scientific and social values, according to a National Forestry and Grassland Administration's document published for soliciting public opinions.

"Under the situation, when the boars hurt people, government departments can resort to euthanasia to reduce their population and prevent harm to people," she said.

Zheng Gongcheng, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, said that the ecological balance between people and animals will be broken if the law only pursues protecting wild animals regardless of people's livelihoods. So he suggested departments should be flexible when revising the protection catalog of wild animals.

In addition, the draft revision said that people should find suitable places to release wild animals without disturbing local residents.

People who cause financial damage or endanger the ecosystem by releasing wild animals shall bear the legal responsibility in accordance with the law, it said.

"China should strictly regulate the release of wild animals," Zheng said, especially those that have been kept as pets. "For example, some people put snakes in parks. If such behaviors are not prohibited, risks will increase."

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