Recently, a theme park in Nanjing announced plans to release 100,000 fireflies for an event celebrating Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day) in August. Soon after this announcement, environmental groups launched a campaign to halt another firefly genocide.
Hoping to attract lots of visitors to their event, the theme park spent more than 500,000 RMB ordering fireflies.
The environmental groups Qinghuan Volunteer Service and Baidie Ecological Development Center began an online protest on July 12th after hearing about the event. They asked Nanjing residents to boycott the event, urging: “Catching a large number of fireflies and releasing them elsewhere only covers the ground with corpses. This is not romantic. This is a massacre. If you love them, do not hurt them.”
An expert on Nanjing’s fireflies also analyzed the possible ecological damages. There are two possible scenarios: the fireflies cannot get used to the new environment and die, or they survive but compete with the local insects for food and resources, causing ecological harm as an invasive species or subspecies. Though park officials claimed that their fireflies were raised in a farm, fireflies for sale are more often caught from the wild, according to a representative from Qinghuan. Last month, the head of the Insect Museum of West China said the same thing.
Yesterday, representatives of the theme park told The Paper that the local tourism administration had told the park to call off the event, citing the environmental controversy and possible accidents resulting from large crowds.
Last month, 100,000 fireflies were released in a Chengdu park. An insect expert claimed that 100% of them will die in between three days and a week. A survival rate similar to these butterflies that were pinned onto a woman’s robe. We are glad that the tragedy did not repeat itself again. And we’ll wait to see if organizers learn their lesson next summer.
By Amy Yang
[Images via Sohu]