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SOS Rhino : In the News : More Animals, Plants Put on Endangered Species List

More Animals, Plants Put on Endangered Species List


By Soh Ji-young
Staff Reporter
The Korea Times

The government decided to increase the number of endangered species for protection as an growing number of local species are disappearing 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.

"We decided 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 and plants are vanishing," he said.

The number of endangered species represents 1.67 percent of all the 18,052 types of animals, 8,271 plants and 3,528 microorganisms currently found in the country.

Anyone who seizes endangered species without government authorization is subject to up to five years in prison or a 30 million won fine.

A total 194 species have been categorized as endangered since 1998, such as the Asian black bear, the copper-winged bat and the Manchurian goral.

The additional designations of endangered species is expected to come into effect within this year or early next year, after the ministry's 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.
06-09-2003 17:29

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