China to strengthen wildlife protection amid epidemic fight
BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- China will further strengthen wildlife management amid the battle against the novel coronavirus, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA).
The spread of the outbreak, preliminarily traced to a wildlife market in Wuhan, the capital city of China's Hubei Province, has prompted strict wildlife protection.
The NFGA will strictly crackdown on illegal and criminal activities such as hunting of wild animals, Wang Weisheng, an official with the administration told a press conference Thursday.
Institutions engaged in breeding of wildlife shall be sealed, controlled or shut down, with all activities such as trading and transportation of wild animals banned, said Wang.
The administration will enhance the monitoring of the disease source of wild animals as well, Wang added.
Meanwhile, lists of wildlife under state protection will be adjusted for better management, according to the NFGA.
Wang also noted that local authorities had cleaned up more than 350,000 markets, restaurants, investigated more than 153,000 breeding centers and handled 690 illegal wildlife cases by Wednesday, and more than 39,000 wild animals were confiscated.
Earlier, Chinese authorities announced in late January that trading of wild animals would be suspended nationwide to curb the spread of the virus.