FIREFLIES / TREIBHAUS DER WUNDER
Zürich / Schweiz
Fotos: Christian Lanz
Licht ,Klang & Duft-Installation
Dear experts of International Firefly Scientist Network,
We have received your letter on “Commercial overharvesting of fireflies”.
We appreciate your attention and support to the biodiversity conservation
of China. Minister Chen Jining pays high attention to the matter. He
required us to organize relevant investigation and study and entrusted me
The Chinese government has always attached great importance to
biodiversity conservation. China has earnestly implemented the Law on
Protection of Wildlife and developed a series of policies and measures on
biodiversity conservation. China has established the National Commission
for Biodiversity Conservation, launched China’s National Biodiversity
Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2030) and strictly fulfilled relevant
obligations for implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
All regions and departments in China make concerted actions and obtain
significant achievements. You may visit the websites of Ministry of
Environmental Protection and State Forestry Administration to get more
Relevant departments have already paid attention to firefly conservation
and they have taken some active measures. State Forestry Administration
of China called on “Protect fireflies and refuse cruel romance” through
microblog. Some local law enforcement teams have investigated the
organizers of Firefly Theme Park and punished those who failed to provide
relevant certificates such as the License for Domestication and Breeding
of Wild Animals, and those who were suspected of illegal purchasing and
utilizing of wildlife including fireflies. In addition, the public and
environmental NGOs also carried out many activities on rejecting
overharvesting and commercial release of fireflies.
In the future, we will cooperate with other departments to carry out
basic investigations and monitoring, study and develop protection
measures and strengthen the habitat conservation of fireflies. Moreover,
we will study and promote the ecological protection mode of “habitat
conservation-scientific research-sightseeing-science popularization”,
conduct public education activities on protection of fireflies and raise
public awareness in this field.
We also welcome continuous attention and support of your network to
biodiversity conservation in China as well as your constructive comments
Director General of Biodiversity Conservation Office
Ministry of Environmental Protection
The People’s Republic of China
Date: 12 October 2016
To: Minister Chen Jining
Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP)
People’s Republic of China
From: International Firefly Scientist Network
Re: PRC Biodiversity Threat from Commercial Overharvesting of Fireflies
Via: Postal service and email
Dear Minister Chen:
We represent an international group of scientists with considerable expertise in the biology and conservation of fireflies, and we write today to urge your Ministry to take action to protect China’s rich firefly biodiversity. Recent news reports show that large numbers of Chinese fireflies are being harvested from wild populations for firefly release events at theme parks and to be sold online as romantic gifts during Qixi Festival. As scientists, we believe these current harvest levels to be unsustainable, and likely to cause extinction of certain Chinese firefly species within the next decade. We write to you today because the MEP is charged with the stewardship of China’s vast nature resources, including its impressive biological resources.
Fireflies are iconic, light-producing insects that are beloved by people all around the world. Because of their unique life cycle, bioluminescence, and pharmaceutical potential, fireflies also have great scientific value. Out of a total of 2000 species worldwide, the People’s Republic of China boasts more than 300 different firefly species. However, reports indicate that during 2015 more than 10 million fireflies were harvested. Although sellers often claim that such fireflies were raised on “firefly farms”, visiting reporters did not find any farms. Instead, they interviewed and photographed “firefly hunters” who gained income from collecting local fireflies during the breeding season and selling them for about 1 yuan each.
Our concern is that these adult fireflies, once they are collected and removed from their native habitat, cannot successfully reproduce. Firefly adults are short-lived, and any eggs deposited by female fireflies are unlikely to survive due to unsuitability of their destination habitat in theme parks and cities. Ecological modeling studies suggest that firefly populations are quickly extinguished when such large numbers of breeding adults are harvested. In 2014, the international Selangor Declaration on the Conservation of Fireflies called for a ban against harvesting fireflies from wild populations for commercial purposes. We recognize that China has been extremely proactive and vocal on issues related to the international Convention on Biological Diversity, including the 1994 China Action Plan for Biodiversity Conservation and the Law on the Protection of Wildlife, which outlines regulations for eco-environmental protection and conserving the nation’s wildlife resources. Based on fireflies’ cultural, scientific, and biodiversity significance, we urge you to consider a government regulation prohibiting the commercial harvest of wild fireflies in the People’s Republic of China.
Having described the problem, perhaps we may be permitted to take one additional step to suggest some possible solutions. As China’s government commences the commendable action of establishing National Parks, perhaps it might consider setting aside nationally protected sanctuary areas for firefly conservation. In recent decades, fireflies have become the focus of a thriving ecological tourism industry in Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico, and the United States. Based on fireflies’ romantic significance in Chinese culture, a viable economic alternative for local villagers who now harvest fireflies might be for them to offer romantic sight-seeing tours to view fireflies in their native habitat. In addition, MEP might support research to develop firefly artificial breeding techniques. China has already become a world leader in establishing breeding centers to help save endangered wildlife, including the giant panda, red ibis, and white-flag dolphins. Perhaps firefly breeding centers can be established to discover new methods for mass-rearing those firefly species that have terrestrial (vs. aquatic larvae), which has not yet been done successfully. Lastly, providing education about firefly ecology and conservation at the level of schools, local communities and the public would teach future generations how to protect their shared biological heritage.
We greatly appreciate this opportunity to voice our concerns, and we sincerely hope that you will not be offended by our ideas for possible solutions to the problem. Please feel free to contact any of the undersigned should you wish for additional clarification or consultation.
Dr. Sara Lewis, Professor, Tufts University, Boston MA USA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sonny Wong, Malaysian Nature Society, KL, Malaysia (email@example.com)
Dr. Raphaël De Cock, Associate Researcher, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Lynn Frierson Faust, Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association, author Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs, USA
Dr. Dieter Weiss, Senior Scientist, Friedrich- Schiller- Universität Jena, Germany
Robin Scagell, UK Glow Worm Survey, UK
Dr. Chaweewan Hutacharern, Former Bureau of CBD COP 12, Bangkok, Thailand
Peggy Butler, Secretary, PA Firefly Festival, Inc., USA
Dr. Albert Matheny, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Florida, USA
Dr. Chia Hsiung, Wu, Assistant Professor, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taiwan.
Dr Giuseppe Camerini, Entomologist, Italy
Benji Kessler, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Dr. Alan J.A. Stewart, Senior Lecturer, University of Sussex, UK
Fireflyers* International is a network of international firefly researchers and enthusiasts... dedicated to the wonder, conservation and science of fireflies.
*Fireflyer. firefly + er. n. short for firefly chaser. A person who thinks about fireflies.
Francesco Mariotti wurde 1943 in Bern in der Schweiz geboren und wuchs von 1953 bis 1961 in Lima in Peru auf. Er studierte von 1965 bis 1966 an der École des Beaux Arts in Paris und von 1966 bis 1969 an der Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. Von 1977 bis 1978 war Mariotti Dozent an der Kunsthochschule in Lima und betreute bis zum Jahr 1980 zahlreiche Projekte von Kunst und Kultur in Peru. Von 1982 bis 1987 war er Generalsekretär des Video Art Festivals von Locarno. Die Kunst von Francesco Mariotti hat einen sowohl intellektuellen, als auch poetisch-ästhetischen und politischen Anspruch. Obwohl das Erscheinungsbild seines Werkes eher technischer Natur ist, tragen seine Objekte und Installationen so poetische Namen wie: Stella Nera, Superlucciola, Canto quántico, Sacramora oder El Jardin Híbrido. Seine ersten Einzelausstellungen hatte er in der Galerie Stummer + Hubschmid in Zürich. Im Jahr 1968 arbeitete er erstmals mit Klaus Geldmacher zusammen, mit einer gemeinsamen Licht-Ton-und Bewegungs-Installation waren sie in diesem Jahr auf der 4. documenta in Kassel vertreten. Die Zusammenarbeit wurde zu verschiedenen Zeitpunkten wiederholt.