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July 2, 2011

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Wildlife fans target bird lure vendors

NATURE lovers are trying to ban online sales of electronic bird lures, which they claim are being used to hunt protected species on the city's Chongming Island.

On leading online platform, these devices - small stereos containing bird calls of various species on a memory card - retail for between 250 yuan (US$39) and 750 yuan.

Bird enthusiasts claim hunters use these to attract protected species into nets, returning later to dispatch the trapped birds which they sell to local eateries.

Although the hunting of protected birds is banned, equipment used in hunting can still be legally sold.

One Guangzhou-based vendor said the device can play 100 sounds of birds and other animals.

"And if you get caught by police while hunting birds, you can switch the device to play songs and tell them you are enjoying music in the woods," said the vendor.

The vendor claimed to have sold 93 electronic bird lures in the past 30 days, and said some buyers were from Shanghai's Songjiang District and Chongming Island.

Other hunting equipment, such as nets and camouflaged clothing, is also sold on the platform.

Angry wildlife enthusiasts have started protesting on the microblog, urging the public not to purchase the goods and appealing to online trading platforms to shut down the stores.

One protestor, a local resident surnamed Wang, said he found some online stores in Chongming which may be run by illegal hunters.

An official with the Shanghai Wildlife Protection Station told Shanghai Daily that they are in discussions with Taobao in an effort to have the stores closed.

But a Taobao official said as the vendors weren't violating any regulations of the platform, it would be unfair to shut down their businesses.

However, she said she would discuss the issue further with senior management.

Two thirds of bird species in Shanghai are protected.

Chongming Island is famous for its wetland and shore birds. Every year more than 3 million migratory birds, representing more than 200 species, stop there.

The Dongtan wetland on the island provides a home to more than 120 species of birds.


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