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China: Around The Nation

Chinese orchardist given warning after killing birds in nets

More than 100 wild bird carcasses found in two nets set up near apple orchard

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2017, 4:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2017, 4:38pm

More than 100 birds, including woodpeckers, larks and sparrows, have been killed in northern China after the owner of an apple orchard set up nets around his land to prevent birds from eating his apples.

Members of a local wildlife protection group discovered the nets near the orchard in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on Monday and informed forestry police and the local media of the matter, the Shanxi Evening News reported.

Two forestry police officers and a reporter from the newspaper visited the site with members of the group on Tuesday.

They found around 10 birds caught in a 10-metre-long and 3-metre-high net outside the orchard and more trapped in a larger net within the orchard.

The bodies of some of the birds appeared to have been in the nets for days. Many more dead birds were found on the ground, according to the report.

The officers said the net in the orchard was at least 100 metres long and that birds would become trapped if their heads or claws got caught in it during flight.

When asked about the matter, the 72-year-old orchard owner, who was not identified by name, said he set up the net in July last year.

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He said the orchard was his only source of income and birds would often peck at his apples or eat them, making it difficult for him to harvest the fruit for sale.

He set up the net to protect his income, he said.

Hearing his explanation, the officers did not punish the man but let him off with a verbal warning but urged him to apply for help from the authorities.

The wildlife protection group was asked to help the man remove the nets, the report said.