OPINIONS Look who's eating protected species

OPINIONS

Look who's eating protected species

China Daily

10:07, August 05, 2022

Tourists observe the world's first robot whale shark at Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park in Pudong New Area, Shanghai. CHINA DAILY

Last month, a video showing a livestreamer cooking a 2-meter-long shark went viral on social networking sites. Some pointed out that what she was cooking looked like a white shark, a protected species.

The livestreamer said she had legally purchased the "farmed shark", but several aquatic life experts pointed out that it looked like a white shark that is found in the high seas, and not one that can be raised in a farm. Soon, the police in Nanchong, Sichuan province, confirmed that the shark was indeed a protected species and detained the livestreamer.

Some tried to defend her saying she may not have known what she was eating, but not knowing the law is not an effective excuse for committing crimes.

In 2021, another foodie livestreamer had been arrested for eating triton, a kind of protected freshwater snail. Earlier, ostriches, crocodiles and giant salamanders have all appeared on livestreaming videos before the law caught up with those consuming these protected species.

However, there are questions that must be asked. How did the livestreamer obtain the shark? Who captured the animal, opened a shop to sell it and shipped it all the way to Sichuan?

For every white shark that lands on a livestreamer's dining table, there is an entire underground network of criminals that needs to be busted.

Hunting them down will require the efforts of not only the police, but also of the public, such as those watching livestreaming programs. It was because someone among the audience raised an alarm that experts and the police got to know of the case. More such cooperation will ensure greater protection for protected species.

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