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Road checks increase to save animals

Local wildlife protection authorities will strengthen inspection for illegal wildlife transport on highways to prevent snakes, frogs and pangolins ending up on dining tables.

The Shanghai Wildlife Conservation and Management Center said yesterday that since summer began, officials have seized several trucks smuggling hundreds of kilograms of wildlife on highways in Jinshan and Jiading districts.

Frogs and toads were set free later while snakes were sent to the Shanghai Zoo. Most such species are protected animals in Shanghai and are vital to the ecological environment, officials said.

"Restaurants are tricky," said Pei Enle, director of the center. "When the trucks were seized, no single restaurant would admit that it purchased the animals, and it's hard for us to go deeper into the cases."

Officials also said China's wildlife protection laws were far from perfect, so restaurants selling wildlife aren't severely punished.

"For example, we can fine a restaurant about 100 yuan (US$14) for selling a snake, which is only a drop in the bucket compared to the profit they make," said Zhang Chenjie, an official with the center's Minhang District branch.


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