Sat, Jan 23, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Keelung bans feeding of black kites

WILDLIFE PROTECTION:Long-term feeding of the birds would hinder their ability to hunt and survive in the wild, the city said. Violators face a fine of up to NT$300,000

By Lu Hsien-hsiu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Photographers gather at Keelung Port on Wednesday last week.

Photo: Lu Hsien-hsiu, Taipei Times

Starting this year, the Keelung City Government will be imposing fines of up to NT$300,000 on people who ignore warnings by feeding black kites at the city harbor’s Ocean Square.

The black kite is considered a cherished bird of prey and included on the Council of Agriculture’s wildlife conservation list, the city said.

Black kites have been known to congregate near the Ocean Square and, in recent years, a number of photographers have been seen scattering shredded meat or entrails near the harbor to lure the birds and catch them on film, it said.

Keelung Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office Director Chen Jui-pin (陳瑞濱) said that long-term feeding would hinder the bird’s ability to hunt and survive in the wild.

Consequently, the city imposed a ban on feeding the birds, especially for photography purposes, Chen said.

The office, along with the city’s Department of Transportation and Tourism, Environmental Protection Bureau, Police Bureau, and the Maritime and Port Bureau, conducted a joint sweep of the plaza on Jan. 8 and tried to dissuade people from continuing the practice.

Those who fail to comply with regulations afer repeated warnings are to be detained and fined between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000 as stipulated in the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), the city said.

If the feeding causes the death of the wildlife in question, offenders face a fine of NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 and a maximum sentence of two years in prison, as stipulated in the Criminal Code, the city said.

Other offenses subject to fines include throwing entrails and meat into the sea to lure the birds, as stipulated in the Marine Pollution Prevention Act (海洋污染防治法) and the Commercial Port Act (商港法); and jumping over the fences around the plaza, as stipulated in the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), the city said.

However, Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said that the city would first strive to persuade people to refrain from engaging in such acts.

Penalities would be reserved for incidents where there are no other alternatives, Lin said.

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