Hairy crabs are a particular delicacy in China, and they can be quite expensive. One well-meaning rich guy in Hangzhou, China, made an enormous purchase last week by cornering the market to buy every last one he could get his hands on, but then he horrified ecologists by announcing that he planned to free them all by releasing them back into the river.
According to the South China Morning Post, the unnamed millionaire paid 1.2 million yuan, or about $188,000, for five and a half tons of live crabs from various wholesale vendors. He reportedly got 33,000 crabs, altogether, and when the vendors asked what he was doing with them, he declared that he planned to set them all free in a local river.
The nameless do-gooder might have been trying to do something good for the crabs, which otherwise were virtually guaranteed a spot in someone’s pot, but local fisheries experts were horrified by the idea.
At this time of year, crabs in the wild are reportedly migrating downstream to lay their eggs. The sudden appearance of five and a half tons more crabs than usual would almost certainly affect their egg-laying habits and ability to find food. Experts also say the crabs from the market could be carrying any manner of diseases or bacteria that the wild crabs will be unexposed and thus susceptible to.
If it’s the thought that counts, this guy should earn points for trying to do a very nice thing for some crabs, but maybe the thought doesn’t count quite as much as not permanently damaging the local ecosystem.