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Police keep pressure on wildlife traffickers

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-25 07:18

Forestry police across Guangdong province seized 11,720 wild animals, plus 960 kilograms of wildlife products, in a special campaign carried out between March and June.

More than 50 suspects have been detained in 40 cases involving the illegal slaughter and trafficking of wildlife in the campaign, which is called Senwang 2017.

Li Wenjiang, deputy director of the Forestry Police Bureau of the Guangdong Department of Public Security, said the cases that arose during the operation were estimated to have involved products with a street value of more than 7.5 million yuan ($1.1 million).

"The wildlife that was seized includes pythons, lizards, gibbons, macaques, boas, hornbills, turtles, pangolins and other wild animals that are under strict State protection," Li said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Monday.

The Guangdong police organized a special task force to focus on investigations after online videos appeared at the beginning of the year in which animals were shown being slaughtered, sold and cooked in the southern Chinese province, known for its wildlife cuisine.

"Senwang 2017, which was launched at the right time after months of investigation, has dealt a heavy blow to those involved in slaughtering and trafficking wildlife in the province," Li said, adding that police will not lower their vigilance.

Li hinted that more special operations may be coming - in cooperation with various sectors, including transportation, industry, commerce, postal service and logistics - to fight the trafficking of protected wildlife at every link.

Dai Zili, a senior public security officer in the province, said the Guangdong police will continue to spare no effort to investigate any online videos and messages related to the slaughter and trafficking of wildlife, as well as online ads to attract those who consume such wildlife.

"Police investigated 5,380 online messages and closed a number of websites and forums that promote wildlife cuisine during Senwang 2017," Dai said.

Chen Weican, a Guangzhou white collar worker, said it is a difficult long-term task for police, as local residents have a long history of using such meat in food because it is thought to provide special nourishment.

More effective and concrete measures should be introduced, he said.

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