Zoo boss works his animal magic

By CANG WEI in Nanjing | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-10-20 08:03
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Kindergarten children line up to greet pandas at the zoo.  CHINA DAILY

Shows banned

A total of 206 public zoos have registered as members of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, which estimates that there are some 300 zoos in the country.

In 2010, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, then known as the National Forestry Administration, issued a regulation banning shows that allowed audience members to touch or abuse animals. Three years later, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development prohibited all kinds of animal displays.

However, to make a profit, some private zoos still take risks to stage such performances.

Shen said a zoo should act as a "Noah's Ark" to protect endangered species, some of which may become extinct were it not for the existence of zoos.

In China, Milu deer, also known as Pere David's deer, have been saved from extinction after being reintroduced to the country from foreign zoos.

The Przewalski's horse, or Mongolian wild horse, was also reintroduced to China from foreign zoos, before being returned to the wild in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Shen said that to protect the environment for both animals and humans, zoos should publicize the importance of habitats.

He said the creation of a tropical environment for the monkeys at his zoo is a good way to show visitors the concept and importance of habitats.

"We hope that visitors can establish an emotional connection with the animals, understand their situations and start to respect and protect nature after they come to the zoo," he added.

Guo Jun contributed to this story.

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