Detailed strategy key for protecting wildlife
Records tracking 186 categories of wildlife, including Chinese water deer, fox, black swans and peacocks, have been logged in Songjiang District as the region keeps building up its reserves, saving and housing distressed animals and banning hunting.
Among the 186 categories of animals monitored, nine are amphibians, 16 reptiles, 144 birds, 17 beasts. Seventeen are Category II State Special Protected Animals and 30 are city-level protected animals.
Inside the Songjiang Chinese Water Deer Protection Zone, more than 30 cameras monitor the deer as they wander through the forest, forage and tend to their offspring.
"The cameras are 'smart eyes' of the water deer protection zone that can both protect against illegal hunting and collect details about the deers' lifestyle," said Gu Xuzhong, deputy chief of the Songjiang Wildlife Protection Station. "We're also preparing the deer for the wild by putting a special necklace on them and monitoring their foraging and other habits."
The Chinese water deer is a local Shanghai species that was common in the suburbs in the 1880s. It disappeared in the early 1900s due to habitat encroachment and over-hunting.
In 2006, Shanghai launched its minimum species restoration project. Key wild animals, including water deer, alligators and badgers, were reintroduced into the city.
Now, as the biggest water deer breeding base in Shanghai, the Chinese water deer protection zone in Yexie Town of Songjiang has a herd of 81 deer and has bred about 100 more deer for other regions after it introduced the first batch of 40 to the base in 2009.
In addition to the water deer reserve, Songjiang has several other wildlife reserves, including the Maogang wild bird habitat.
At the Songjiang wildlife aid station, worker Sheng Junsheng shows off a white fox. The aid station now houses animals like black swans, peacocks, hedgehogs and parrots that have been saved or helped by staff.
"The animals were either abandoned by their owners or saved by forest guards or local people," Gu said.
To ensure timely help for wounded, sick, hungry or trapped wild animals, Songjiang has drafted scientific and quick-response rules. Wildlife, after recovery, are returned to wild.
The district has 168,400 mu (11,226.7 hectares) of forest, with a forest cover rate of 18.75 percent – second among the city's districts. It also has 73,000 mu of wetlands.
In June 2020, Songjiang declared itself a full-district wildlife preserve area based on China's wildlife protection laws. Illegal hunting, disturbing habitats and the transportation and selling of wildlife are banned throughout the district.
To target illegal hunting of wild birds, district sent more than 10,000 personnel to patrol local forests last year.