Customs on hunt for imports of illegal exotic pets

Updated 2018-05-10 09:09:02 China Daily

Entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities across the nation have intercepted an increasing number of alien species and exotic pets that can pose serious risks to safety and environmental integrity, China's top authority for entry-exit inspection and quarantine said.

Authorities are remaining alert for illegal entry of such animals as spiders, tortoises and snakes, which are sent to China mostly through mailed parcels. They said they will take more measures to tighten supervision and hold law violators accountable, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Banned animals, plants and their products were found in more than 42,000 mail and parcel deliveries at ports last year, and harmful species were spotted in 5,147 of them, the administration said.

Although most banned products intercepted were meat, dairy, seeds and sprouts, illegal mailing of live animals became more rampant, spurred by the booming popularity of exotic pets in China, the administration said.

The variety of such animals intercepted at ports increased last year compared with 2016.

Most alien species were bought by individuals or pet business owners from sources in other countries, or through exchanges, the administration said.

Major alien species intercepted by quarantine authorities last year included tortoises, spiders, scorpions, snakes, frogs and various types of insects, it said. The creatures came from almost all of China's major trading partners, and were found at all major ports on the Chinese mainland, the administration said.

"In general, alien species have strong reproductive abilities, and are strongly adaptable to different environments," it said. "They may have no natural enemies in China, so they are likely to reproduce in great numbers and pose serious threats to indigenous species and will damage China's ecology, biodiversity and agricultural production if they are not properly taken care of and are set free."

Many of these animals are also carriers of diseases that could cause outbreaks among plants and animals in China, it said.

In addition, some species, such as the Brazilian killer scorpion, poison dart frogs and other poisonous frogs can be dangerous to the public and may even be used by terrorists, the administration said.

All live animals except dogs and cats are banned from being carried by passengers or sent via mail services to the mainland, unless approved by authorities and accompanied by official quarantine certificates from their country, according to Chinese regulations.

Among pets, only dogs and cats can be carried to China, and each passenger can only carry one cat or one dog each time. The dog or cat must be quarantined after arrival, according to the regulations.

Keeping track of the flow of exotic pets has been a challenge for authorities as most are light and are mailed from abroad in small amounts, the administration said.

"Tricks to evade supervision are constantly being refined, and in most cases the parcels containing the pets are disguised as other items in various forms, posing great difficulties in inspections," it said.

To make the situation worse, booming cross-border e-commerce has resulted in a rapidly increasing amount of mail and parcels each year, forcing inspection and quarantine authorities in many places to work 24 hours a day, the administration said.

Zhu Shuifang, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine, said with intensified globalization and more frequent international exchanges, cargo and mailed parcels have increased rapidly, posing great challenges in ensuring biosafety while allowing swift entry of goods.

"With so many goods, it is not possible to inspect every parcel," he said. "Advanced technologies can play a more important role in improving efficiency in inspection of harmful species to prevent loss in trade, agriculture, health and ecology."

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58May 22 2018 02:48:53

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16May 22 2018 02:48:53

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18May 22 2018 02:48:53

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

Most Watched

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords