15 Wildlife Reserves to Be Built in Shanghai

The city plans to construct 15 large-scaled natural wildlife reserves. The schedule for the projects, made by the Shanghai Wildlife Preserve Division, recently passed their first appraisal by local experts.

According to the schedule, the city plans to take about 10 years to complete the construction. The natural reserve area will cover about 1,000 square kilometres, about 12.7 percent of the city's total area. Over 80 percent of Shanghai's wildlife will be housed in the reserves.

"The idea was first broached in the mid-1990s when we were investigating the future of wildlife resources in Shanghai from 1996 to 2000," said Xie Yimin, director of the division, which is affiliated to the Shanghai Agriculture and Forestry Bureau.

The result of the investigation showed there were still more than 420 kinds of wild birds, beasts and amphibians and about 900 plant varieties living in Shanghai, which exceeded most people's expectations.

"But compared with the situation before the city's liberation in 1949, the numbers and kinds of wildlife have decreased," Xie said.

The small civet cat which could have been found in Shanghai in the 1950s has now vanished. The number of small swans in Shanghai has also decreased from 3,000 to 100.

"With more and more natural spaces being developed and the population density rising so rapidly, land suitable for wildlife is being swallowed up," Xie said. "Setting up natural reserves is an international practice."

The 15 planned natural reserves include a bird sanctuary on Chongming island, which is under construction, an amphibian reserve in Jiading and Baoshan districts and a wildlife reserve in the Sanlin section of the outer ring road in Pudong.

"One thing I am still worried about is the management and supervision after construction," Xie added. "Focusing on the construction but ignoring the after-construction management is always a problem."

(China Daily 07/27/2001)