More than 26,000 artificially-bred wild animals were recently released into the wild in Nanhai City of Guangdong Province.
It was the first time such a large number of artificially-bred animals had been freed in Guangdong, said Professor Jiang Haisheng,of the South China Research Institute for Endangered Species.
The freed animals include 20,000 tiger frogs, an endangered species under second-grade state protection, and about 6,000 rare birds such as turtledoves, mannikins and thrushes.
While there was a large variety of wildlife in Guangdong, many species existed only in very small numbers, said Jiang. Artificially breeding animals and then releasing them to the wild was an effective way to increase wildlife stocks, he added.
All the tiger frogs had earlier received "special training" from experts to help them get accustomed to the natural environment, said Jiang, adding that the frogs would also be put under regular monitoring and observation by scientists.
The program was conducted at the Guangdong Tiger Frog Breeding Base jointly set up by Guangdong Provincial Wildlife Protection Office, Nanhai City Forestry Bureau and a local company.
While Guangdong cuisine has always been the favorite of many Chinese gourmets, restaurants in this province used to be notorious for putting wildlife on their menus.
But thanks to continuous efforts by local governments and wildlife campaigners, the situation has changed gradually in recent years. In June, the "Say no to wildlife eating" campaign was launched across the province and more than 10,000 residents signed a document to show their support.
Sources with the Guangdong police said that this year over 90 percent of criminal cases involving poaching and wildlife eating were dealt with upon tip-offs from local citizens.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2002)