The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) has noted that it has retrieved the marbled crayfish, a foreign species, recently found in a pond on Taipa.
The crustaceans were found within the leisure area at Taipa Grande. Given its adaptability and reproductive efficiency, the species is considered hazardous to local species and biodiversity.
Danny Leong, an entomologist from Macau who has named a new species of ant, told the Times that the situation could be worrying because the crayfish is extremely hardy and can survive tough conditions. “It can even stand dehydration for some time and not suffocate immediately,” he explained.
Furthermore, it subsists on almost all kinds of animals that have a smaller size than itself. “If the crayfish eat all [our local species] up, we will have no more local species,” Leong warned.
Some may find it nothing to worry about, but Leong noted that many local species do have medicinal value. “Many local species can be used as Chinese medicine,” he remarked. “Without them surviving, we will have no supply of the medicine.”
For several years, the Macau government has worked to develop the city into a traditional Chinese medicine hub. Leong commented on this aspect as well: “If we have no more of our local species left, we have no way to develop traditional Chinese medicine.”
Leong also pointed out that biodiversity is not only important for scenery but also crucial to keeping the world stable. “Biodiversity will help with the stability of the climate, which in turn will ensure our food supply,” he said.
Failure to maintain biodiversity is not a theoretical issue but has real precedents. For example, according to Leong, marbled crayfish invaded Madagascar’s local ecology and wiped out some of its local species, causing irreversible devastation.
In another case, European marine ecology experienced a shockwave as Australian carps were introduced. Species used as food by the local population were eliminated. “As local people don’t eat carp, they have no edible marine food left,” Leong recalled. “Meanwhile, they had no catches for trading purposes, damaging their economy severely.”
He asked local leisure fish keepers to be responsible citizens and be mindful of the environmental impact when they release their unwanted water pets.
IAM tries to catch cats to ensure safety
Meanwhile, following three cases of suspected feline murder unearthed recently in the Areia Preta and Iao Hon District, the IAM undertook an operation yesterday in the district to catch stray cats.
However, as the stray animal control strategy of Trap-Neuter-Release has been refused by the IAM, stray animals caught will be kept at the Municipal Kennel until they are adopted. Otherwise, they will be euthanized after a certain period of time.
Previously, several animal welfare groups have accused the IAM of not working hard enough to attract adoptions. Furthermore, although the law drafted by the IAM requires pet owners to treat their animals with care, volunteer stray animal caretakers have revealed that the conditions at the kennel are not quite satisfactory.
However, a local animal welfare group, the Cats and Dogs Guardian Angel Association (Macao), has thanked another animal welfare group, ANIMA, for collaborating with the IAM in this operation.
The group assured the public in a social media post that the lives of the cats will not be hanging in the balance. “The cats will be taken by ANIMA. They will be safe,” the post read.
Commenting on his social media page about the catching of stray cats in order to safeguard animal welfare, lawmaker Sulu Sou described it as “ridiculous.” He asked why the alleged killer or killers, except the stray cats, are being chased after.
The IAM reiterated that it is “strengthening collaborations with the police to take the abuse of animals seriously.”
Residents forced to discard large furniture on bushes
The large rubbish disposal period prior to Chinese New Year officially concluded yesterday. The IAM has therefore instructed residents to dispose of their rubbish at designated depositories during a certain timeslot.
However, the Times has seen that rubbish was piled up on the lane-separating bush at several points of collection. Although signage was put in place to indicate the location of the collection, no specific containers were arranged to hold the pieces of rubbish. It is feared that the pieces of large rubbish will damage the plants when placed upon them.