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September 4, 2012

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Release of animals frequently backfires

ANIMAL protection authorities are asking locals not to free captured wild animals, or even release fish randomly as their good intentions are likely to backfire.

The appeal came after cases of released animals dying or attacking people in the city over the past few weeks.

Environmental assessments must be made before organized activities to free animals to ensure the area is conductive, the city's wildlife conservation officials said.

In China, the release of animals - known as fang sheng in Chinese - became an important way of demonstrating Buddhist piety. Some people buy animals to release them.

The growing number of snakes released by locals has caused ecological problems at the Sheshan Hill National Forest Park recently.

People have been warned about entering the western part of the hill as wild snakes frequently have been spotted.

Officials remind people to contact park operators first if they want to release animals because not all animals are suitable for freeing.

Freeing animals randomly only harms the environment of the Sheshan Hill and the practice is also not good for the snakes, park officials said.

About 1,000 crucian fish were found floating at the Pudong side of the Huangpu River in July after they were improperly released.

Fisheries experts said the fish died due to high water temperatures and the species' poor environmental adaptation ability.

"Freeing out of good will is equal to 'killing' if people don't pay attention to the species of the animal and the season and region of freeing, and the practice will only cause water pollution and ecological disorder," said Wang Wu, a professor with the Shanghai Ocean University.

In August, the Baoyang Road pier was invaded by non-poisonous red-banded snakes, causing a panic among residents, pier workers and fishermen.

They crawled on the windows of boats, at the pier and other places, terrifying people who saw them until they were caught by policemen.

Witnesses said the red-banded snakes were freed by people who planned and organized for animal releases.


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