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Chongqing Wildlife Rescue Centers Flourish Under Multi-Level Efforts

By JAMES ALEXANDERICHONGQING|Nov 24,2022

Chongqing– The 20th National Congress emphasized the necessity to improve diversity, stability, and sustainability in natural ecosystems and implement major projects for biodiversity protection. In this context, the yearly Chongqing Wildlife Protection Awareness Month taking place this November holds extra significance.

In recent years, the efforts Chongqing has invested in ecological protection have continued to increase, the sight of endangered wild animals has become more frequent in many locations, and rescue shelters for wild animals have gained importance.

Chongqing currently has six municipal-level shelter and rescue agencies for wildlife, as well as temporary district and county stations affiliated with the local forestry bureau. These also have played an important role in protecting these terrestrial animals.

Presently, there are still significant issues such as professional experience, shortage of funds, and limited reach from government agencies. Fortunately, under policy guidance, a joint force for wildlife protection is gradually being formed, allowing more wild animals to be rescued promptly and effectively.

Wildlife Chongqing Zoo

A tropical bird receives attentive care at Chongqing Zoo (Photo/ Chongqing Zoo)

Chongqing Zoo, a leading center for animal protection

Inside the Wildlife Conservation and Rescue Center of Chongqing Zoo, cute little animals search for food and play in the activity room. Among these, a cute macaque wrapped inside a small quilt stares at staff outside the window with a witty expression.

“We have just rescued this little macaque, so he is a little wary of the surrounding environment,” explained Yang Qi, a staff member of Chongqing Zoo. This summer, the center received a call from a concerned citizen, stating an injured monkey had been found in the community. Personnel rushed to the scene and identified the animal as a macaque, a second-level wild animal protection nationwide.

“When the macaque first arrived at the rescue center, it hid from people and refused to eat or drink,” said Yang Qi. They tried mashing fruits and vegetables and mixed them with milk for it. They also made a puppet using a blanket to enhance its sense of security. Slowly, the little macaque started to trust the breeders more and began to eat normally and gain strength after half a month.

The unique climate and geographical environment of Chongqing have bred rich biodiversity. Wu Jing, deputy director of the Nature Reserve and Wildlife Protection Management Division of the Municipal Forestry Bureau, said that in recent years, with improvements in the ecological environment and greater public awareness towards wildlife protection, animal shelters and rescue centers have gradually become a topic of public concern.

Chongqing Zoo is the municipality’s largest wild animal rescue station and receives more than 3,000 calls yearly. Last year alone, there were more than 70 species of wild animals numbering over 200 animals. “Most are sent to the rescue station for injury, sickness, hunger, and other reasons. After simple treatment, they generally survive in the wild and be rereleased,” Yang Qi said.

For example, in February this year, they rescued a Chinese merganser injured during its migratory journey. “At that time, its chest wound was infected, and parts were necrotic.” Yang Qi recalled that after nearly two hours of emergency surgery, this first merganser rescued in Chongqing was finally out of danger.

Wildlife Chongqing

Troops of black leaf monkeys at Jinfo Mountain now benefit from improved environmental protection (Photo/ Jinfo Mountain)

To expand the scope of emergency rescue for wildlife, the Municipal Forestry Bureau worked together with the Municipal Urban Management Bureau to formulate standardized procedures for animal shelters, the rescue process, animal resettlement, and file management, while municipal-level agencies, districts, and counties have also been encouraged to set up their rescue teams and resources. This has increased the professional standard of centers across the board.

Voluntary organizations contribute to ecological cause

Jinling Zoo, located in the Meixin Wine Town theme park in Fuling District, is the only locally-based rescue organization authorized by the forestry department. The facility is built on the hillside with lush vegetation. The transparent glass breeding room is home to a variety of owls, rock eagles, badgers, and other lively small animals jumping around in their enclosures.

In the past, when an injured or sick animal was found, it could only be bandaged and disinfected. However, the professional veterinary team at the zoo can not only treat most injuries on the spot, but the breeders can also adjust the nutritional regime according to the health status, helping them to recover as soon as possible.

At the same time, non-governmental voluntary organizations are also playing an increasingly important role. Chengkou Daba Mountain Nature Reserve has a complete forest ecosystem and is a migration destination for many winter migratory birds. To strengthen the protection of wild animals, the local forestry bureau has set up a volunteer service team working under the banner of “Protect the Mountains, Love the Birdlife.”

“Many winter migratory birds have stayed in the nature reserve with the sudden drop in temperature, and we’ve now entered the busiest season of the year,” said volunteer Wu Tianyu. “In addition to regular manual patrols, they have cracked down on hunting, trading, and other illegal activities and enhanced public awareness of protecting birdlife.”

Many experts have also suggested that localities can foster third-party systems for supervision and evaluation in addition to government efforts. Professionals from all walks of life can form evaluation or supervision committees, regularly conduct research for public reports, and improve the reputation, credibility, and results of non-governmental relief agencies.

So far, Chongqing has established 43 volunteer service teams of 365 volunteers, covering a total patrol distance of 1,170 kilometers. Last year alone, more than 50 birds were rescued.

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