Authorities in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, have officially banned hunting, breeding, and eating wild animals.
The city’s municipal government website notice said the ban will last for five years with an immediate effect.
The novel coronavirus was first recorded in Wuhan late last year and the outbreak was linked to a seafood market where live animals were also sold.
According to the notice hunting is now banned in Wuhan except for “scientific research, population regulation, monitoring of epidemic diseases and other special circumstances.
However, there will also be strict new rules on the breeding of wild animals, with city officials making it clear that none can be reared as food.
In the nice it was mentioned that it is prohibited to artificially breed terrestrial wild animals and rare and endangered aquatic wild animals under national key protection for the purpose of eating.
The notice also says illegal wildlife trading is “comprehensively prohibited” and there will be strengthening of the inspection and supervision of wild animals.
Officials will also actively carry out wildlife protection and public health safety publicity and education to eliminate the abuse of wild animals, to promote a civilised and healthy, green, and environmentally friendly lifestyle, and create a good atmosphere for people and nature to live in harmony.
The move comes amid mounting pressure for China to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade accused by many for the Covid-19 pandemic.