HEFEI, April 13 (Xinhua) -- A truckload of protected wildlife, including some under state-level protection in China, was intercepted in the east China province of Jiangxi on Friday, thanks to the joint actions of local volunteers and forestry authorities.
A truck carrying 4,334 birds and mammals, some alive, others already dead, as well as reptiles weighing more than 600 kilograms in total, was stopped at around 6:10 a.m. Friday by forest police on a highway linking Anhui and Jiangxi provinces, sources with China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation confirmed.
Forest police officials told Xinhua that the truck driver was taken into custody.
"Volunteers are the forest police's eyes and ears," said Yang Yigao, deputy director of Jiangxi Forest Police first division. "We appreciate their persistence and dedication in helping us with this case."
He said that the provincial forest police bureau is determined to end the illegal trade of wildlife.
"To protect, respect, and live in harmony with the nature is the core of an ecological civilization, and wildlife is an indispensable part of the natural environment, whose protection has been drawing greater attention from Chinese society," said Sun Quanhui, a senior scientific advisor at World Animal Protection, an international non-profit animal welfare organization.
"In the past few years, China has intensely promoted a series of important measures to strengthen wildlife protection, such as amending the Wildlife Protection Law, banning the ivory trade, building national parks... All of these are evidence of the huge efforts and great focus that the country has attached to wildlife protection," he said.
Police nationwide have maintained focus on wildlife poaching and trafficking crimes, solved multiple major cases, and vigorously blocked illegal activities, said Sun.
On the other hand, wildlife protection requires the participation of society as a whole, Sun said.
China's Wildlife Protection Law was amended in 2017 to encourage the public to actively participate in protecting wildlife.
A group of volunteers willing to help the cause was recently established in China by Wildlife Protection Association, in order to better coordinate participation and promote public awareness on how to detect and report illegal activities and how to assist forestry authorities to monitor and patrol protected areas.
Poaching, transporting, or trading protected wildlife is punishable by up to ten years in prison, according to China's criminal law.