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China Delays Animal Hunt Licence Auction

Date: 14-Aug-06
Country: CHINA

The government-sanctioned auction, which was to have been held on Sunday in Chengdu, capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, would have allowed foreign hunting organisations to bid for the right to hunt 289 animals from 14 different species.

The Beijing Youth Daily said on Wednesday that the licences were based on types and numbers of wild animals, ranging from about US$200 for a wolf, the only carnivore on the list, to as much as US$40,000 for a yak.

It said the list also included endangered species.

The whole idea had infuriated China's Internet users, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The response from the public is beyond our expectation," Xinhua quoted Wang Wei, an official from the State Forestry Association (SFA), the auction's organiser, as saying.

Wang said the goal of the auction was to protect the environment, and that endangered species were not under the hammer.

"The government has been strengthening wildlife conservation and the booming population of some animals has become a burden on local ecological system," he said.

SFA spokesman Cao Qingyao said the auction would be held in a proper way "after soliciting suggestions from the public" but declined to give a date.

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