Saturday, 20. December 2014
05. 06. 14. - 16:00
Cunning villagers in China have given up on bird calls and beating the bushes to trap birds. Instead the high-tech hunters are using an MP3 player with a recording of bird song to get their prey.
The scale of the problem was highlighted after one gang now arrested in Peixian county in east China’s Jiangsu province admitted they had snared 20,000 birds in the past year by using the gadget to play recordings of the birds' singing.
The birds are considered great delicacies among locals and are sought after for the pot at local markets.
The nine villagers that made up the gang knocked up a formidable catch of common moorhens and other water fowl with the simple trick.
Police spokesman Shaiming Tsou, 43, said: "The hunters downloaded the bird’s singing from the web and then at night used their MP3 players to play the bird’s courtship melodies to lure other birds to their doom.
Although hunters are allowed to catch birds in some seasons, it is illegal to target them during this peak breeding period when members of a species are particularly vulnerable.
But according to villager Quin Zhang, who was the first to cotton on to the effective - but still illegal - practice, police and other officials turn a blind to their efforts.
He said: "This is just progress. Before we had bird whistles, now we have MP3 players. What's the difference?"
Policeman Shaiming Tsou added: "Six of these bird hunters and their dealers have been arrested and others are still being sought."
A local wildfowl official Chung Tsai, 51, said: "Hunting by fair means is one thing, but stocks will rapidly be depleted if this goes on. The recordings are too lifelike, the birds don't stand a chance when they hear the call of nature."
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