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Wild Animal Shelter on Cards
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Shanghais first wild animal shelter will be set up by the year's end on the 31.5-kilometer silt beach in Heqing Village of Pudong New Area, in a bid to stop illegal hunting in the region.

The shelter will start small, as a primary test run for wildlife protection, with local wildlife experts giving advice, according to Sun Weiping, director of Pudong's Greening Committee.

The silt beach is a main migrant pathway for many types of rare birds, such as white stork, imperial eagle and Mandarin ducks, according to Cui Zhixing, a bird scientist at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

"These migratory birds build homes in reed areas along the silt beach," said Cui. "Also, the reeds can keep them warm during the winter."

Apart from the birds, the region is also home to other rare animals, such as small Indian civets, weasels and the Chinese bullfrogs. Naturally, it draws all kinds of illegal hunters looking for a kill. And because the poachers hunt at the night, they are difficult to catch.

"However, now they can be stopped by the shelter's night patrol staff," said Cui.

The location of the shelter is well chosen, said Shen Jianzhong, director of the Shanghai Wild Animal Park. "It's far enough from the city center, so as to prevent a bird flu outbreak," said Shen.

The shelter will also be a boon for injured wild animals, who can be examined by its veterinarians. The animals will be returned to the wild later.

(Shanghai Daily February 27, 2006)


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