Young Chinese try to change long held cultural views.
Traditional wisdom in China’s Guangdong province says that eating exotic animals can cure diseases and increase quality of life. Some of these animals that are destined for the plate are also endangered.
In Guangdong a group of student activists are trying to do something that is far stranger then eating exotic animals: they are trying to save them.
They have formed the Asian Turtle Rehabilitation Project, based in Guangzhou, and have stepped in where the Chinese authorities have fallen short, by monitoring markets, restaurants and reporting sales of endangered animals.
The toughest battle they face is trying to change consumers’ mentality. Where many think trying to save animals, that are “only good for eating,” is a wasted effort.
These students are trying to bridge the gap between the culture in which they were raised and the modern conservation concerns, which they have been exposed to via, school and the Internet.
Their focus is on changing these traditional attitudes. One of the activists, Wen Zhenyu says, “We try to educate people that turtles are not only pets and not only food; they are also a friend of humans.”