China / Society

Quarantine authorities struggle to keep exotic species out

By XU WEI ( Updated: 2015-07-17 20:35

China's quarantine authorities are faced with the mounting challenges of intercepting wild species at customs, particularly pests, with the country's booming outbound tourism and expansion of cross-border e-commerce, officials have said.

Quarantine officials at exit-entry points nationwide confiscated more than 400,000 batches of animals and plants that were banned from the border from passengers' suitcases and mail order packages in 2014, said Li Yijuan, an official with the animal and plants inspection and quarantine department under the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

"The number of animals and plants being confiscated are rising each year. The development of cross-border e-commerce has fueled the growing enthusiasm for exotic pets," she said at a launching ceremony of a public education center on biosafety on Friday.

The animals confiscated by the quarantine authorities include live snakes, turtles, spiders and even a deathstalker scorpion from Israel.

Many of the exotic pets posed dangers to the pet owners, and could even harm the ecology of the environment if they are allowed to reproduce in the country, she said.

The Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau intercepted 14 batches of live spiders from mail order boxes between April 27 and May 10, according to the administration.

Li said one of the most important measures to cope with the challenge is to reduce the number of online transactions through online marketplaces.

The country is on course to legislate on the e-commerce sector, and Li said she hoped that the ban on the selling of the exotics pets online could be included in the new law.

"We will also increase the supervision of the selling of exotic pets through online marketplaces to reduce the transactions," she said.

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