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China: Around The Nation

Sale of fireflies ‘banned’ on Chinese online shopping sites

The glowing insects are often released during promotional events on the mainland as a novelty, according to a news website report

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 12:24pm

Animal rights activists in China are celebrating after the sale of fireflies was banned on several popular online shopping platforms including Taobao, according to a news website report.

The sale of the insects has become popular on the mainland, with some parks and sports centres staging events where fireflies are released at night and children can catch them, Zjol.com.cn reported.

Property developers and wedding planners also buy and set free fireflies to promote and celebrate their events, according to the article.

This has led firefly sellers to put the insects on sale on online shopping platforms.

One firefly can fetch between 1.50 yuan (20 US cents) and five yuan on one online trading platform.

More than six million fireflies were caught and traded across the country last year, according to the report. About a fifth sold die by the time they arrive at customers’ homes after posting.

Lights out: China’s firefly display called off after animal rights group’s open letter

The number of the insects has significantly fallen in China over the past decade or more, the report added.

A survey by the state-run news agency Xinhua published this week suggested that 95 per cent of children in cities in China had never seen a firefly.

Ninety-nine per cent of rural people polled thought the insects were pests.