Hong Kong hikers [and pet dogs] risk getting injured by illegal animal traps, SPCA warns

City this year seized about 180 of such devices, meant to catch wild animals such as snakes and boars, considered to be good for health during winter

Published: SCMP, 15 Dec 2016
Link to the original article here

Hikers run the risk of getting injured by illegal traps meant to catch wild animals, with almost 180 such devices seized across Hong Kong this year, an animal welfare group has said.

The warning came after a young mongrel was caught in a gin trap on a hillside on Mount Parker Road in Tai Tam Country Park at about 12.30pm on Thursday.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the dog’s two rear legs were trapped by the device and it ran off after firemen freed it. Another gin trap and a medium mammal cage were found nearby.

“Baits, including bread, shrimp shell and dog treats, were found scattered around the traps,” a spokeswoman said, adding that the devices were believed to have been set up recently.

Police were treating the case as “cruelty to animals”, with Eastern police district detectives looking into who were setting up the traps.

The SPCA spokeswoman said it had found 56 animal traps, including gin traps, cages and snake traps, over the past three months. They were handed over to the conservation departments.

“Most of the traps were found on hillsides in Tai Po, Sheung Shui, Sai Kung and Sha Tin. The devices were usually hidden under leaves and baits were found near some traps,” she said, adding that some were discovered along walking trails in country parks.

“Walkers could suffer from leg fractures … and animals could have their legs amputated after being injured by such devices,” she said.

The spokeswoman believed the traps were designed to catch wild animals such as snakes, boars, civet cats and pangolins which people consider to be good for health during winter.

Figures from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department showed 178 animal traps were found across the city in the first 11 months of this year. In the whole of last year, 140 traps were seized.

“According to the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, no person shall, except in accordance with a special permit, hunt any wild animal by means of any hunting appliance. Any person who contravenes the law shall be liable on conviction to a fine of HK$50,000,” the department said.

“If the wild animals involved are listed as protected wild animals, the maximum penalty is a fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for one year.”

The animal welfare group appealed to the public to call its 24-hour hotline on 2711 1000, or call police if they see anyone setting up such illegal traps.

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