A court in central China has ordered a man to do environmental promotions after he was found to have illegally hunted a protected bird species and cooked two birds for his father.

Zhao, 63, is required to join in three promotional activities to spread knowledge about wildlife protection, in addition to fines, according to the People’s Court in Kaifu District of Changsha City, capital of Hunan Province.

In May last year, Zhao found wild turtledoves in his vegetable field and came up with the idea of trapping them. He bought bird cages and caught four turtledoves.

This February, Zhao killed two of the birds and cooked them “to provide nutrition” to his 93-year-old father.

After discovering Zhao’s wrongdoing, the local forestry bureau confiscated the other two turtledoves and released them back to the wild, according to the court.

The birds were identified as Spotted Doves, a protected wild species in China.

“I had no idea that the wild turtledoves are under national protection, and I just wanted to help my dad stay healthy,” Zhao said. “I apologize for harming the environment.”

The Changsha Wildlife Conservation Association filed a lawsuit against Zhao, the first such case concerning public interest filed by a non-governmental environmental protection organization in Changsha. It received support from prosecutorial authorities at both the municipal and district levels.

“We hope that through the litigation, we can draw more public attention to wildlife protection,” said Zhou Canying, head of the Changsha Wildlife Conservation Association. “Protecting wild animals is protecting human beings ourselves.”

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