Farmer in Hangzhou arrested for capturing and killing toads

A farmer who hunted 114 toads, killing 109 of them, has been arrested in Chun'an county in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, according to a report by Hangzhou Daily Online.

The 48-year-old farmer, surnamed Chen, said he intended to use the toads in dishes for a dinner party and caught them in a reservoir on Feb 14, according to China News Agency.

On Feb 18, the Chun'an Forest Police caught Chen and his friends killing toads by a stream, having been tipped off by local residents. A total of 109 dead toads were found, with police setting free the five that were still alive.

"I didn't know that catching toads is an illegal act. I will never hunt toads or sparrows again," Chen told the police after he was arrested.

While many people know about regulations regarding the protection of rare and endangered animals, hunters are often unaware of the list of wildlife that is beneficial to the State or has important economic and scientific research value.

Up to 1,700 species with a significant value in ecology, science and society, including sparrows, toads, frogs, wall lizards, hares, pheasants and snakes, have been added to the list by the State Forestry Administration.

It is illegal to hunt animals on the list without permission. Hunting more than 20 constitutes a crime, and more than 50 is regarded as a severe crime, according to the criminal law.

"We see about 50 similar cases each year and the species varies with seasons," Lu Qiangjun, director of Chun'an Forest Police Bureau, was quoted as saying by Zhejiang News Online.

In another case on Monday in Liuyang, Hunan province, a villager was arrested on charges of capturing 4,057 toads weighing a total of 384 kilograms in the past two weeks, Changsha Evening News reported.

"It is time for us to take more measures to spread knowledge about wildlife," Lu said.

The list of animals can be found in booklets that illustrate some typical cases, Lu said.