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December 4, 2019

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Badger discovery stops school construction work

A NUMBER of Shanghai’s last remaining wild badgers, the city’s biggest wild mammal, are to be relocated after being found during the construction of a new school in the southern outskirts.

About a dozen Asian badgers were encountered by construction workers in April when they were demolishing a derelict training center in a bamboo forest in Fengxian District during the construction of a branch of Shanghai World Foreign Language Academy.

The project was suspended and the site sealed to protect the habitat of some of the earliest original inhabitants of the city. Badgers are listed as an endangered and protected animal in the city. It is estimated that only 30 wild badgers live in the city’s outskirts.

A preliminary plan has been made to relocate the badgers while restoring their habitat, the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said.

The scheme aims to create a new habitat on over 50,000 square meters of farmland in the south part of the plot. It will become a wildlife education center after the badgers are relocated. The plan will be evaluated by experts to eliminate any risks during relocation.

When Shanghai conducted a wildlife survey in 1997, a small number of badgers were found in Fengxian, Songjiang, Jinshan, Qingpu and Jiading districts, the bureau said yesterday.

Xu Hongfa, a professor at East China Normal University and a leading expert on Asian badgers in Shanghai, said it will be difficult to capture them.

It is difficult to track them down and they may also bite and flee to evade capture, Xu said. There was no previous case of relocating badgers for reference.

“Shanghai’s high underground water level wasn’t friendly for the cave animals. They used to live in the bamboo forests that were gone,” Xu said.

Experts estimate it might take two to five years to finish the relocation and restoration of the habitat in Fengxian.


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