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Taxidermist stuffs animals to save animals

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-28 01:31

Jiang Kewei, a 34-year-old businessman, says allowing people to get up close and personal with wildlife might help some species avoid extinction.

His hobby is stuffing animals and then donating them to the public to help promote awareness of wildlife protection.

"These stuffed animals can help people get an intimate view of species they may never see in the wild," he said.

Since the age of 10, the taxidermist has traveled throughout the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, observing wildlife and stuffing some of the fresh carcasses he came across.

He has stuffed hundreds of specimens, but never killed an animal. Most of his works have been donated to schools and museums such as the Beijing Museum of Natural History.

He considers his best work to be a white-headed duck, which is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

"I found the duck when I patrolled Baihu Lake in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. It was killed by a poacher," Jiang said.

Home to more than 150 species of birds, the 1.5-square-kilometer lake might be the only habitat of the waterfowl species in China, he added.

Jiang first embalmed the duck, stuffed it and then donated it to the Beijing museum.

He left the pellet shot by the poacher in the head of the duck.

"I wanted to keep the pellet there to remind people that the poor aquatic bird, along with many other innocent wild animals, died from the cruelty of some people," he said.

The museum holds activities to promote public knowledge about white-headed ducks on May 7 each year, the day Jiang found the duck.

Despite his day job being a businessman who manufactures and sells hardware, Jiang views himself as an animal-rights activist. He has rescued and protected various wild animals including snow leopards.

Self-funding his animal conservation efforts, he has also organized a volunteer patrol team that has saved hundreds of rare species of aquatic birds from poachers in the past three years at Baihu Lake.

"I can't remember how much money I have spent rescuing and protecting wild birds, but I will keep doing this if needed," he said.

As public awareness of wildlife protection has increased, the government of Urumqi has asked workers to plant trees and shrubs around the lake to improve the living environment of the native wildlife.

"I fully enjoy my taxidermy hobby, but I would rather see the birds fly freely around the lake," Jiang said.


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