Experts are calling for the establishment of conservation areas for fireflies in the mangrove forests in Shenzhen.
The call comes after a firefly show at a tourist resort sparked debate over the weekend, Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported yesterday.
Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands Conservation Foundation protested against the release of 100,000 fireflies hosted by Shanshui Tianyuan Garden in Longhua New Area last week.
Members of the public wondered if the fireflies would survive after being released, with the organizer claiming they would breed and provide visitors with a show every summer.
Yan Baohua with the foundation said the smaller population of fireflies in Shenzhen reflected the degradation of the local environment.
Fu Xinhua, an associate professor at Huazhong Agricultural University, said he found 200 kinds of fireflies in Chinese mangrove forests, with 10 different kinds in Shenzhen.
Fu said the Chinese public know little about fireflies as studies started late in China. He added that light pollution endangers fireflies’ survival in urban areas, as the bugs seek mates by lighting up. External light undermines their breeding.
The strong light from residential buildings and street lamps near the mangrove forests in Futian conservation areas has made it almost impossible for fireflies to live without the shelter of high trees, according to Fu’s research.
Fu also found lots of garbage in the city’s mangrove forests during his research. He said garbage can kill the snails that fireflies feed on, which may lead to the firefly population dying out.
Fu said it’s essential to improve the environmental management of mangrove forests and reduce the light and garbage pollution and more public education should take place.
Fu also suggests Shenzhen establish conservation areas for fireflies in mangrove forests.