An employee at the Beijing Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Center feeding an injured common moorhen. (photo/Xinhua)
Police in Pei county, under the jurisdiction of Xuzhou in eastern China's Jiangsu province have cracked down on a major poaching campaign that has so far seen more than 20,000 wild birds served up for dinner, reports the Jiangsu-based Xiandai Kuaibao. The poachers would lure the birds with recorded sound clips of bird calls.
The bird they targeted, generally known as the common moorhen, is listed as a species of "least concern" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature; in other words, it is not under threat of extinction. Jiangsu province, however, forbids hunting. Furthermore, the common moorhen is officially categorized as both an economically and scientifically valuable species.
The poaching involved a chain of buyers who buy the birds for US$2 and sell them on for US$2.20 to restaurants in neighboring provinces. The poachers have made at least US$20,000 from their operations.
Liu Chanming, associate professor at the School of Life Science at Jiangsu Normal University in Xuzhou, said that in general the number and diversity of birds are on the decline. Although the common moorhen is not endangered, 20,000 fewer birds will certainly have an impact on the local ecosystem.
Liu Chan-ming 劉纏民