2 swans, among other migratory birds, killed by poison and traps
Bodies of 52 birds, including two white swans, a Class II protected species in China, were discovered near a small swamp called “Swan Lake” at a wetland in central China’s Hubei province.
Boquan Wetland near the city of Wuhan become the stopover site for many migratory birds species. However, poachers near the region laid snares and sprinkled much deadly poison around in order to kill the wildlife that fly from as far away as Siberia to spend winter. Many dead birds are headed for dining tables at local restaurants.
A close-up view of a leghold trap
The leghold traps used by poachers were elaborately designed and installed: The base was made of high-strength steel wire and fishing line. To prevent the water birds from escaping by diving into water, the traps were all set on firm ground. When the bird steps on the trigger, the trap closes around its foot and prevents it from flying off. So far, nearly 20 leghold traps were found and removed by the wetland rangers.
Besides, many paper bags containing carbofuran, a pesticide known to be particularly toxic to birds, were found around the bodies of multiple birds and a white swan. It is said that a single pellet can kill a large-size bird. Predators, specifically raptors, vultures and other scavengers, that eat birds killed by carbofuran may also die from secondary fatal poisoning.
Three bird conservation volunteers went to the wetland to rescue birds after learning about the incident. Some shed tears as they gently stroke the birds’ bodies. Ke Zhiqiang, one volunteer, said it is disheartening to see over 50 bodies of birds, “Nowadays, it is very hard to find another place like this wetland near the city of Wuhan that attracts white swans. But it never occurred to us that these swans would be killed in cold blood.” He vowed to bring more volunteers here to safeguard the wetland.
Three volunteers went to the wetland on February 8, hoping to rescue injured birds.
A wild bird pinned down by a bird trap.
“Swan Lake,” the small swamp, earned its name in the winter of 2006, when over 500 swans from Siberia rested here. The sight endeared and inspired a tobacco company, which owns a plantation nearby, to double the size of the water body to turn it into a better wetland. The wetland even sprinkles wheat and corn at times to feed birds.
Even though over 20 rangers are stationed in the wetland park to patrol the area, poachers usually act at night, and the large-size water body has made it difficult to catch them before they flee the area.
The local law enforcement unit launched surprise inspection of seven restaurants in the area that included game on their menus, raided their kitchens and refrigerators, and found 18 living animals that are protected from being hunted, including two badgers, 12 turtledoves and four pheasants. They were all released back into the wilderness after the restaurateurs were disciplined.
Wildlife at a restaurant killed and ready to be cooked.
On February 8, birds of various species were found dead; they can never fly back to their homes.
A worker at a wildlife protection station found residue of poison in the mouth of a dead white swan.
Bodies of two white swans were taken onto a boat.
On February 8, a white swan was found dead.
Bags of carbofuran (trade name: Furadan) put down by poachers to poison birds.
Selected comments from Sina Weibo
空事：Swans, which symbolize purity and sanctity, died an unnatural death from the wicked act of the mankind. Why just can’t we treat creatures around us nicely? Can we stop purchasing leather goods of all kinds?
y_Zhong：Swan is pleasing to the eye and the mind only when it is alive. Once it is dead, what it leaves behind are nothing but grief and tears.
唐心蓝t：Had these people known the distance the swans flied and the rigor the swans were put through before arriving here, would they still be so cruel? If they still would, please turn their beloved ones into swans! Otherwise, how would a heart already numbed ache?
胭脂甲虫：You have the heart to do this just for (satisfying)the desire of your mouth and stomach?
黑夜里的你的眼：Poor white swans, your elegant and beautiful spotlessly white feathers were tainted by dirty people. Stupid human beings destroyed lives so gorgeous for money…The sacred white swan, you must have felt very indignant that you have died such a cruel death, in an alien land…
-曾嘉豪：Without trade, there would be no harm.
泛泛之輩Joa：Are people always so vicious? This is National protected animal we are talking about! What a life it was! Why capture it and poison it? Human beings are indeed the most cruel and coldest animal…
丁丁糕：Those who put down poison will die in their boots~~
空灵非相：The food chain was destroyed long ago. Human beings have become the biggest predator of all animals. //@我本楚狂人他娘: In Europe, many artificial lakes have turtles and swans. They have metal bands (as tags) on their feet. They are raised by professionals. They enjoy such a happy life. But in China, their fate is so miserable. Sigh…Be a human before you do anything.//@我本楚狂人他爹: This is way out of the line! Sentence them after arresting them!
洛琳Lorraine：What is the relevant department doing…Why can’t they nip it in the bud, destroy evils before they become menacing, and tighten control…Why each time it is the people and the media who discover problems first? Why the government doesn’t do anything until something terrible happens!!!
墙壁上的尼莫小鱼：Why do they always eat birds? Can a bird that died from poisons be eaten?
Jennifer1031：Damn, a bunch of beasts!!! That’s why I call human infection with diseases such as bird flu “Well-deserved punishment.”
大漠阳光869：In China, even people are in this situation, let alone swans!
心灵的行修：What a vicious sin! I went there to watch migratory birds in flocks just this winter. A peaceful and safe paradise is now turned into a slaughter ground. Blinded by avarice and profit, they can even poison their fellow countrymen, let alone birds.