CLAWS: Chinese City’s 100-ton Crayfish Statue

The Chinese city of Qianjiang is celebrating its freshwater crustacean-catching roots with a bright red, 50-ft tall, 100-ton statue of a rampant crayfish.

It can’t be easy being “The Lobster Hometown of China” when edible crustaceans of any kind are increasingly hard to find. Qianjiang, a city of about one million located in China’s central Hubei province, was once blessed with an abundance of freshwater lakes and ponds favored by uncountable numbers of crayfish.

That was then… in 1960, the region’s largest lake was drained and converted into farmland with the initial success of the plan encouraging local authorities to drain other lakes and ponds. As with other short-sighted wetlands development schemes around the world, long-term negative environmental effects eventually outweighed any perceived economic benefits.

The loss of Qianjiang’s wetlands necessarily led to the rapid decline of the crayfish, duck eggs, lily seeds and other products that had made Qianjiang famous for centuries. While the clock can’t be turned back, city authorities are at least making efforts to recognize the region’s roots in a big way… about 100 tons big!

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