Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Hunting plan draws flak from environmentalists


Animal conservationists and legislators yesterday slammed a 10-day trial hunting project carried out in Danda, Nantou County, by the Council of Agriculture (COA), saying that the research project mistakenly justifies human acts of violence.

On Dec. 15, the council's Forestry Bureau launched the trial hunting project, which is aimed at finding better means of managing wildlife habitats. The project is open only to Bunun Aboriginals, who have to be trained before being awarded permits to hunt many kinds of wild animals, including three protected species -- the Formosan barking deer, Formosan serow and Formosan sambar.

At a press conference yesterday at the Legislative Yuan, conservationists lashed out at council officials, saying the trial would be the beginning of the legalization of a cruel and dangerous hunting culture in Taiwan.

"Officials should not regard wildlife as an exploitable resource. Causing agony to animals should not be a form of recreation for human beings," Buddhist Master Shih Chao-hui (釋昭慧) from the Life Conservationist Association said.

In the project, the number of animals hunters are allowed to shoot has been strictly limited based on research by Wang Ying (王穎), a professor of life sciences at National Taiwan Normal University. As of yesterday, there were 17 hunters involved in the project and bureau statistics showed that 17 Formosan barking deer, four Formosan serows and two Formosan sambars had been shot.

"We will determine the feasibility of combining Aboriginal people's participation with the management of habitats for wild animals," said Fang Kuo-yun (方國運), director of the bureau's conservation division.

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