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China Sees over 10,000 Wildlife Criminal Cases in 1st 10 Months

China recorded 10,818 criminal cases involving wildlife in the first ten months in 2007, up 11.5 percent year-on-year, according to China's forestry watchdog.

Statistics from the State Forestry Administration (SFA) and China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) also show that a total of 172,471 wildlife cases, in which about 1.5 million wild animals were confiscated, were recorded in the first ten months of 2007, up 2.7 percent compared with the same period last year.

"Forestry security departments at all levels should strengthen their cooperation with local public security departments, wildlife protection organizations and other relevant organizations to crack down on crime cases in all phases including poaching, smuggling and selling," Legal Daily quoted Bai Jingfu, vice minister of Public Security, as saying.

A survey released by CWCA in 2006 shows that the number of grocery stores selling wildlife products and wholesale markets selling wildlife rose by about 20 percent compared with that in 1999.

Both individual and collective efforts to protect wildlife should be highly encouraged and rewarded while the punishments for dereliction of duty to protect wildlife will become more severe, Bai said, adding that more people should participate in the protection of wildlife.

China has a law on wildlife and the criminal law stipulates that offense causing injury to rare species of animals are punishable with a jail term of from one to 10 years or above and a fine.

China's central and local forestry departments have launched various campaigns such as "Falcon Operation" in 2001 and "Spring Operation" in 2003, in a bid to crack down on illegal hunting and trading of wild animals and plants for high profits.

China's rich bio-diversity boasts nearly 20,000 aquatic animal species and about 600 aquatic plant types, and its grassland is home to about 7,000 types of wild plants and 10,000 animal species.

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2007)

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