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Hunting Quotas to Go Under the Hammer
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For the first time China's wild animal hunting quotas will be sold by auction to domestic hunting agencies in a move designed to increase transparency and efficiency in the industry.


The new system would reflect the true value of China's wildlife, said Wang Wei, deputy director of wildlife and forest protection at the State Forestry Administration because market forces played no part in the more than 20 years hunting licenses were issued to five State-run agencies.


"Through auctions, quotas can be distributed fairly because the agency offering the highest price gets the quota," said Wang.


Quotas are permits for foreign hunters, the predominant clients at Chinese hunting ranges; and stipulate where, when and what to kill.


Designed to protect wild animals from poaching the hunting quotas are set in reference to the state of wildlife conservation.


The quotas are currently set for about 30 international-level hunting areas in provinces and autonomous regions including Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Gansu, Sichuan and Xinjiang. The first quota auction will be held in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, on August 13 and will include the sale of quotas for approximately 200 species.


To ease worries that endangered wildlife could be affected Wang explained that the number of animals entering the auction was too small to harm species diversity. "The number is lower than one-thousandth of the species at the hunting park," he said.


Hunting agencies said the new policy would simplify the application procedures. "Before we had to apply for quotas each time a hunter came to us," said Cao Liang, director of the China Wildlife Conservation Hunting Agency, the first of its kind in China. "Now we can buy what we need once a year and make use of them whenever we want within that year."


(China Daily August 10, 2006)

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