Many readers have spoken out against the commercial harvesting of wild fireflies in China, and nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for a ban on such activity. In October 2016, The International Firefly Scientist Network wrote to the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection expressing our concerns about the negative impact of commercial harvesting on firefly biodiversity in China.
Last week, we received a very thoughtful and encouraging response from Mr. CHENG Lifeng, Director General of the Biodiversity Conservation Office. I’m delighted to share with you the following excerpt:
“The Chinese government has always attached great importance to biodiversity conservation… Relevant departments have already paid attention to firefly conservation and they have taken some active measures. State Forestry Administration of China called on “Protect fireflies and refuse cruel romance” through microblog. Some local law enforcement teams have investigated the organizers of Firefly Theme Park and punished those who failed to provide relevant certificates such as the License for Domestication and Breeding of Wild Animals, and those who were suspected of illegal purchasing and utilizing of wildlife including fireflies. In addition, the public and environmental NGOs also carried out many activities on rejecting overharvesting and commercial release of fireflies.”
“In the future, we will cooperate with other departments to carry out basic investigations and monitoring, study and develop protection measures and strengthen the habitat conservation of fireflies. Moreover, we will study and promote the ecological protection mode of “habitat conservation-scientific research-sightseeing-science popularization”, conduct public education activities on protection of fireflies and raise public awareness in this field.”
As firefly lovers and scientists, please join me in applauding such constructive actions taken by the PRC Government to protect wild firefly populations in China!