By Katie Nelson
Earlier this week, the Chinese public’s fear of an impending animal apocalypse were stoked when 250 kilos of dead fish inexplicably washed ashore in Shanghai’s Songjiang district. However, reports are now saying that the fish were actually released by Buddhists.
The Shanghai Daily reports that the fish floating in abundance along the man-made Sijing pond may have been released by Buddhist followers who were freeing captive animals to celebrate Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
Songjiang District government said residents in Sijing Town reported that many Buddhist followers released fish into the water on March 30, which was the birthday of Guanyin in the Chinese Lunar calendar.
Officials suspected the fish died because so many were released together into the water.
The mass of fish were found along the shoreline around April 1, after local residents complained about a bad smell preventing them from taking a stroll around the waterfront.
Authorities were befuddled as to what killed the fish after ruling out pollution. Some speculated that the fish were drugged or electrically shocked by illegal fishers.
“Many people paid several hundred to thousands of yuan to buy fish from the markets at the end of March and released them in nearby waterways. Some even paid 10,000 yuan (US$1,612),” an official told the Shanghai Daily.
In 2012, Buddhist faithful caused chaos when they released a thousand snakes into the wild in rural Hebei province.
Authorities say that the water quality is still “within safe levels,” whatever that means anymore.
Either way, the dead fish smell won’t be bothering wandering locals any longer.
“All the dead fish plucked out of the water were buried safely” agricultural authorities told the People’s Daily.