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Those who seek to profit from protected species break the law

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-08 07:39

Those who seek to profit from protected species break the law

A Nonggang babbler, or Stachyris nonggangensis.

A MAN IN SHENZHEN, South China's Guangdong province, was recently given a five-year sentence and fined 3,000 yuan ($435) after he sold two parrots of an endangered species under State-level protection. Beijing News commented on Sunday:

Many bird lovers have a parrot and the habit of buying and selling their birds. And there are many kinds of parrots, not all of which are endangered species, so buying and selling parrots does not necessarily constitute a crime.

Thus the Shenzhen parrot lover apparently did not anticipate the legal consequences of selling six of his parrots, two of them an endangered species. He claimed he did not know the two parrots were endangered nor did he keep the parrots just to sell them. The man argued that he needed to sell the birds to make money to feed his family. But that does not justify his breaking law.

While the verdict of the first trial is not flawless, it was based on solid evidence and made in accordance with the law. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora does not deem all parrots precious and endangered; yet the two sold by the Shenzhen parrot-raiser did fall into the "untouchable" category.

It is possible that the parrot keeper had no idea that two of his parrots belonged to a protected species and there would be legal consequences from selling them. If on appeal that is judged to be the case, there is the possibility that he will get a lighter punishment.

But on the other hand, it is possible he did know the parrots were a protected species in which case his sentence should be firmly upheld to deter others.


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