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Firefly event scrapped for 'illegal' hunting

来源: Global Times 作者: 2015-08-17 14:16:55

  A firefly exhibit at a theme park in Hunan Province's capital city Changsha has been cancelled after authorities found that it illegally captured fireflies in the wild, exposing problems in China's firefly business.

  A theme park in Changsha's Juzi Island was ordered to stop its firefly exhibit after it opened on Friday.

  The local government began investigating after the Changsha Wildlife Conservation Association said in a statement that it doubts the fireflies were from a breeding farm.

  Authorities said it suspects the theme park of engaging in illegally hunting, acquiring, managing and utilizing wildlife as it could not provide permits, while the contract with the firefly breeding farm was found to be forged.

  Zhou Canying, director of the Changsha Wildlife Conservation Association, told the Global Times Sunday that hunting fireflies in the wild will harm the ecosystem and may result in their extinction.

  She said that the cost of breeding each firefly ranges from 15 to 20 yuan ($2.3-3.1), but only costs 0.5 yuan each when caught in the wild. Many people hunt and sell fireflies caught in the wild but claim the fireflies came from breeding farms for profit.

  "Breeding fireflies is expensive because the insects have to be bred for a year and they only glow toward the end of their lifespan which normally lasts for a week, and fireflies glow because it indicates their mating season. Keeping them for exhibit purposes will hinder their breeding," Zhou said.

  Firefly exhibits around China have been called off several times this year. A firefly exhibit at a theme park in Songshan, Shanghai was scrapped in July after the government found that the firefly house posed security risks. Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province also planned one and would have charged an entry fee of 60 yuan, but was called off after being heavily criticized for harming wildlife.

  Yue Hua, a volunteer at Nature University, a Beijing-based non-governmental organization, told the Global Times that the firefly exhibit gained popularity last year.

  "Many firefly events were held in the name of science education, but these would kill fireflies in the wild," he said, adding that there are more than 60 firefly exhibits scheduled in China this year, with about 30 of them to be held around Chinese Valentine's Day.

  Yue said fireflies are highly sensitive to air pollution and light. Many would die after being kept as they cannot adopt to the new environment and some would die in transit or under intense exposure to flashlights during the exhibit.

  "We traced the source of the firefly suppliers and found that most of the insects were caught in the wild in rural villages in Jiangxi Province," he said.

Keywords:Firefly event,hunting

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