Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Hsiao Ching-tien (蕭景田) yesterday proposed an amendment to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) that would make the law apply to endangered insects.
The proposal will require anyone who wants to catch insects for purposes other than academic research or education to apply for a permit from a local government agency.
It also allows those who obtain permits to only catch insects within a specific area to be designated by the local government.
The current law only covers the catching of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians for purposes other than research or education.
If the proposal clears the legislative floor, offenders would be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.
Hsiao said he drafted the proposed revision after receiving a letter from an elementary school student calling on the government to preserve Hercules beetles and stag beetles.
“I am an elementary school student who loves insects. I’m writing this letter to ask you to help save them,” wrote Chiu Wei-cheng (邱暐埕), a fourth grader from Changhua County.
Chiu said in the letter that his father and he had seen vendors almost wipe out the population of beetles in Baguashan (八卦山), Changhwa County, while local environmentalists have been working to restore the two species of beetle in the area.
“Those vendors have been catching [the beetles] without restraint. I think it is very cruel. Please stop them from catching [the insects],” Chiu said.
Beetles have been popular pets in Taiwan in recent years, particularly with elementary school children. The insects are usually sold at stationary stores near elementary schools or pet stores.
Hsiao said he was very moved by the letter.
“As children love them so much, shouldn’t we protect insects? This way, children who love insects, and especially Hercules beetles, will still be able to observe them in their natural habitat,” Hsiao said.
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