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August 11, 2010

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Snakes seized at market

THIRTY-THREE snakes have been confiscated from an aquatic products market in Putuo District after a man almost died when he was bitten by a poisonous narrow-banded krait on Saturday.

The Putuo District Greenery and Public Sanitation Administrative Bureau carried out three checks on each and every stall in the market on Tongchuan Road after learning about illegal wildlife sales from local media reports.

The confiscated reptiles were taken to Shanghai Zoo, officials said.

"We stopped the sales of several tons of snakes last year," said Shi Jiheng, a leader of the team that conducted the checks. "Wildlife protection is routine work."

The market watchdog usually does spot checks on the market twice a week. But many vendors are familiar with the inspectors and hide the snakes before they are seized.

The bureau now asked market officials to check stalls around the clock to prevent illegal wildlife sales.

According to the country's wildlife protection law, the breeding and sale of wildlife animals have to be approved by government. Most local snake vendors don't have a permit, Shi said.

Would-be snake breeder Guo Yupeng, 27, nearly died after being bitten by a narrow-banded krait when picking up a snake at a stall in the market on Saturday.

"He is recovering well," said Chen Wei, a doctor responsible for his treatment at Longhua Hospital.

He can now open his eyes halfway and can write short notes to communicate.


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