Authorities in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, have officially banned eating, hunting and breeding wild animals.
A notice on the city’s local government website said the ban will inherit immediate effect and can last for five years.
The novel coronavirus was first recorded in Wuhan late last year and therefore the outbreak was linked to a seafood market where live animals were also sold.
However, following the outbreak of the virus, hunting is now banned in Wuhan apart from “scientific research, population regulation, monitoring of epidemic diseases and other special circumstances,” the notice says.
“Hunting of untamed animals is strictly prohibited,” the statement says. “The administrative area of ??the whole city may be a wildlife sanctuary.”
There will even be strict new controls on the breeding of untamed animals, with city officials making it clear that none are often reared as food.
“It is prohibited to artificially breed terrestrial wild animals and rare and endangered aquatic wild animals under national key protection for the aim of eating,” the notice says.
The notice also says illegal wildlife trading is “comprehensively prohibited” and there’ll be strengthening of “the supervision and inspection of untamed animals”.
Officials also will “actively perform wildlife protection and public health safety publicity and education, eliminate the abuse of untamed animals, promote a civilised and healthy, green and environmentally friendly lifestyle, and make an honest atmosphere for people and nature to measure in harmony”.
The move comes amid mounting pressure for China to clamp down on the illegal wildlife trade blamed by many for the Covid-19 pandemic.