Thousands of animals face eviction as Chengdu wildlife shelter told to close
Move is part of government drive to shut down polluting farms and facilities in suburban areas of the southwestern city
A private shelter in Chengdu that takes in wildlife including endangered species has been told to shut down by the end of the year, and the 2,000 animals housed there will have to be relocated.
But its owner Zhou Ming told Shanghai news outlet Thepaper.cn that compensation offered by the local authorities would not cover the cost of moving the facility.
The government of the southwestern city recently launched a campaign to shut down farms in suburban areas to reduce the amount of animal waste and pollution they produced.
Ming said the Chengdu Temporary Help and Care Centre for Wild Animals would need at least 6.8 million yuan (US$1.02 million) to relocate, but it had been offered four million yuan in compensation, according to the report on Tuesday.
“They don’t carry out these evictions by force these days – instead they [threaten to] cut off the water and electricity supply,” he was quoted by Thepaper.cn as saying.
Ming said he planned to try negotiating with the government for more compensation.
“If the authorities could find another piece of land and build a new shelter for the animals, I could move there without any compensation,” he added.
Zhu Wenhua, Communist Party secretary of Changle village, where the shelter is located, told the news website that the area was an important drinking water source for the city, which was why all such farms and facilities had to go.
He said compensation for wild birds at the shelter would be the same as that for chickens and ducks, adding that the facility and its surrounds would be turned into a flower garden.
Zhou opened the shelter in 2004 after the city’s government-run wildlife rescue centre was closed. He signed a lease on the 1.5-hectare piece of land in Changle village and has since taken in more than 30 animal species – some of them on the endangered list, including Yangtze alligators, golden pheasants and macaques – abandoned by zoos, research institutes and parks.