The State Forestry Administration of China has conservationists in an uproar as it considers lifting a ban on hunting the country’s protected species.
Seven American hunters have apparently applied for permits for the trophy hunting of blue sheep (bharal) and Tibetan gazelles.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, the blue sheep is categorized as a Class II protected species under China’s National Wildlife Law of 1988. The Tibetan gazelle is classified as Near Threatened and its population is decreasing.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS IMAGES OF HUNTING.
If the applications – submitted by Beijing-based China Adventure Travel and China Women Travel Service – receive final approval, the sheep and gazelles are to be killed at the Qinghai Dulan Hunting Ground, according to the Xinhua news website.
Wang Wei, director of the Zheng-An Travel Agency (China Adventure Travel and China Women Travel Service), said via Xinhua that the hunting ground “has hosted more than 700 hunters” since 1987 and raked in around 3.12 million US dollars.
The travel agency caters to both Chinese and foreign clients.
More than 100 of the travel agency’s Chinese clients have gone on hunting expeditions to Africa, as well as North and South America.
PRC mouthpiece China Daily quoted Jia Jingbo, dean of the College of Wildlife Resource, Northeast Forestry University, as saying that “limited hunting will contribute to wildlife conservation as the revenue generated from legal hunting can be used for animal protection work and boost the local economy and benefit residents’ livelihoods.”
However, such “hunting as conservation” schemes have already failed miserably in Africa. Watch the LionAid video below to learn more:
(Additional information about the “hunting as conservation” argument can be found here.)
The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s China director, Hua Ning, cautioned against allowing the hunt.
Hunting is cruel and most profits go into the pockets of the private owners of the hunting grounds instead of the local community and people.
Tibetan Buddhists are also opposed to the hunt.
The Tibetan Review noted that “sentiment against killing of wildlife did not seem to have been considered.”
A spokesperson for the Qinghai Dulan Hunting Ground told Shanghai Daily that “only elderly and male animals” with the largest horns will be killed.
Foreign hunters would also be required to sign contracts agreeing to “punishment under Chinese law” if any hunting regulations are violated.
China Daily noted that “ten to 15 percent of the fee goes toward the travel agency’s administration work and translation services, while almost 50 percent goes to the company that runs the hunting ground. The rest is paid as tax to the government.”
Prior to China’s hunting ban, a blue sheep could be killed for $7,900 and a Tibetan gazelle for $1,500.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGES.
It is anticipated that the “trophy” prices will increase if the ban on killing wild animals is lifted and more hunting applications are received, thus providing another revenue stream for the Chinese government.
Images via YouTube