A cobra was set free on September 10 in a park in Xiangtan City, South China’s Hunan Province. Local police immediately arrested the troublemaker and began hunting for the deadly creature to try to prevent it from hurting anyone.
Such news has frequently appeared in recent years. In the name of mercy, some people free captive animals, including foreign species, mostly bought from pet shops or markets. However, their warm-hearted kindness often causes serious consequences. Such animals randomly set free can destroy local biodiversity or harm people. For example, the Red-Eared Slider, a kind of turtle from Brazil, has bred rampantly in some places of China due to being released from captivity or abandoned. This particular turtle has no natural enemies in China, so the alien invader has seriously damaged local biodiversity and poses a big threat to native species. Last April, someone freed hundreds of foxes and raccoon dogs in a Beijing suburb, causing economic losses to animal farmers and endangering the safety of local residents.
Influenced by Buddhism, freeing captive animals is an act that deserves respect in China. Today, people are increasingly aware of the importance of environmental protection and biodiversity. But it is necessary to ensure that acts of freeing captive animals do not violate laws or harm the legitimate interests of the public. Freeing a cobra in a park reflects the troublemaker’s ignorance of other people’s lives.
In order to regulate the release of captive animals, the government revised the law on wildlife conservation in 2016. According to the updated regulations, no individual or organization should harm the public interest by freeing captive animals, and any creatures set free should be local species that pose no threat to local biodiversity.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published on Legal Daily September 13)