Zhejiang Shaoxing is a place with a long history and profound culture, as well as a place with beautiful scenery and rich products. Here, there is a group of people who love nature and pursue excitement. They like to hunt wild animals in the mountains and forests, and taste the deliciousness of game. They think that this is a traditional local culture, and also a way to exercise their bodies and enhance their friendship.
However, they do not know that their behavior has violated the law and endangered the ecological balance and public health. According to the Wildlife Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Survey Report on Terrestrial Wildlife Resources in Zhejiang Province, there are many rare and endangered wild animals in Zhejiang Province, such as pangolins, leopards, white pheasants, etc., which are under national first or second level protection. In addition, from April 1 to September 30 every year and during the Spring Festival (from December 25 to January 15 of the lunar calendar), it is the animal wildlife hunting prohibition period stipulated by the Zhejiang Provincial Government. Hunting with prohibited tools or methods during the hunting prohibition period will constitute a crime of illegal hunting and will be severely punished by law.
Under such circumstances, once, three Shaoxing men casually talked about the deliciousness of game while eating, and suddenly drooled. One of them said that he had eaten wild rabbits and praised the deliciousness of wild rabbits; another said that he had eaten snakes and enjoyed them; after chatting for a while, someone suggested to catch some wild rabbits to satisfy their cravings, and they agreed immediately and decided to go to the forest together to catch wild rabbits!
To improve the success rate and safety of hunting, they also prepared some equipment, the most important of which is a night vision binoculars. They chose the WildGuarder brand night vision binoculars because it has the following advantages: First, it can clearly observe the target in the dark without being limited by light conditions; Second, it can lock the target at a long distance and emit sound or vibration prompts; Third, it can transmit the picture in real time through the mobile phone APP and record wonderful moments; Fourth, it can adjust brightness, contrast and magnification to adapt to different environments and needs; Fifth, it has waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and other functions with strong durability.”
So they entered the woods quietly with night vision binoculars and other tools after nightfall. They rode three motorcycles and searched for traces of hares in three directions in the woods. Wearing night vision binoculars and holding flashlights, they sometimes stopped to observe and sometimes accelerated forward. Their target was the hare, a nimble and agile three-lipped animal.
Hares are mammals that live in wastelands and shrublands. They hide in weeds and shrubs or crop stalks during the day and come out to forage at night. They do not have fixed caves, only temporary caves when giving birth, which are shallow and simple. They like quietness, are afraid of being frightened, have keen hearing, agile movements, and quickly escape when slightly disturbed. They have a mixed diet, including various wild grasses and tender branches of trees, as well as various vegetables, fruits of crops, etc. They have strong resistance to diseases and grow fast individually.
Due to the living habits and characteristics of hares, it is not easy to catch them. First of all, you need to find their hiding places, which requires careful observation of the terrain and vegetation, and pay attention to finding clues such as their droppings, hair and footprints. Secondly, you need to master their activity patterns and habits, understand when they come out to forage and when they return to their hiding places, and pay attention to avoiding their natural enemies such as eagles, vultures, ospreys, wolves, foxes, and leopards. Finally, you need to use appropriate tools and methods such as night vision binoculars, flashlights, nets, traps, firearms etc., and coordinate well with factors such as sound, light and smell.
Although these three men were equipped with night vision binoculars and other equipment, they were not professional hunters and had not received any training or guidance. They just relied on their own experience and intuition to search for hares in the woods. Not only did they not find any hares, but they also disturbed other animals in the woods such as birds, squirrels and hedgehogs. They also accidentally stepped on some traps and thorns causing some pain and trouble.
Just as they were about to return disappointed, one of them suddenly spotted a hare. He immediately locked onto the target with his night vision binoculars, quietly approached a little closer, and then pulled the trigger aiming at the hare’s head. What he didn’t expect was that the gun in his hand was an illegally modified homemade gun with great power and loud noise. His gunshot immediately alarmed other animals in the woods and also alerted nearby forest public security personnel. They rushed to the scene and found Ye holding a homemade gun and the shot hare. Upon identification, the hare belonged to a national second-class protected animal.
Ye was caught on the spot and taken back to the Forest Public Security Bureau. After interrogation, Ye confessed to the process of buying and modifying the homemade gun, as well as the fact that he and Tu and Xu hunted illegally together. Tu and Xu were also quickly captured and confessed to their crimes. Upon investigation, Ye and others illegally hunted 8 wild animals between June and July 2019, including 3 national second-class protected animals.
According to Article 341(1) and (2) of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, as well as Article 7 of the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Specific Application of Law in Handling Criminal Cases Involving Destruction of Wildlife Resources and other relevant provisions, Ye and others’ behavior constituted the crime of illegal hunting and used dangerous methods for hunting with serious circumstances. Therefore, the procuratorial organ filed a public prosecution against Ye and others according to law, and recommended that Ye be sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine; Tu and Xu be sentenced to two years imprisonment respectively and a fine.
The illegal hunting behavior of Ye and others not only violated national laws and regulations but also caused serious harm to the natural ecological environment and public interests. Illegal hunting and trading of wild animals allow a large number of uninspected wild animals and their products to enter the market, not only directly causing a reduction in the number of individual animals and the risk of invasion by foreign species but also increasing the possibility of outbreaks and pandemics of zoonotic infectious diseases, threatening overall national security through endangering biological safety and causing serious damage to the national economy, people’s health and public health. Wildlife resources are an important component of the ecosystem and play an important role in maintaining ecological balance. They need to be protected with the strictest system and the most rigorous rule of law.
In order to maintain ecological civilization construction and social stability, the court fully considered Ye and others’ criminal facts, nature, circumstances and social harm when trying this case and made a fair and reasonable judgment according to law. Ye was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine; Tu and Xu were sentenced to two years imprisonment respectively and a fine. At the same time, the court confiscated the wild animals and their products obtained by Ye and others through illegal hunting and handed them over to relevant departments for disposal. In addition, the court also confiscated and destroyed the homemade guns illegally modified and used by Ye and others.
The trial and sentencing of this case not only reflects the judicial organs’ severe crackdown on illegal hunting behavior but also demonstrates the positive role of judicial organs in protecting wildlife resources. Through this case, we also hope to raise public awareness and sense of responsibility for wildlife protection, respect nature, respect life, cherish wildlife, and jointly build Chongming World-Class Ecological Island.