By Soh Ji-young
The Korea Times
The government decided to increase
the number of endangered species for protection as an growing number
of local species are
from their habitats due to excessive land development and hunting.
About 300 kinds of wildlife, such as
the lynx, crested ibis, soft shell turtle and water toad will be
designated as endangered or rare
species, putting the total number of protected species in South
Korea to about 500, the Environment Ministry said yesterday.
to increase the number of endangered species as new environmental
surveys have shown that many kinds of wildlife are
on the verge of extinction," said ministry
official Son Moo-jo.
"As a result of reckless hunting and
damage inflicted on their natural habitats, more and more animals
plants are vanishing,"
The number of endangered species represents
1.67 percent of all the 18,052 types of animals, 8,271 plants and
found in the country.
Anyone who seizes endangered species
without government authorization is subject to up to five years
or a 30 million won fine.
total 194 species have been categorized as endangered since 1998,
such as the Asian black bear, the copper-winged bat and the Manchurian
The additional designations of endangered
species is expected to come into effect within this year or early
next year, after the
wildlife preservation bill passes through the National Assembly.
The ministry has also decided to map
out protective measures for 54 rare species following the conclusion
of their environmental surveys,
such as designating their habitats as special preservation sites.