United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Protect China's last 500 green peafowls

Friends of Nature (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    Green peafowl are currently listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A recent study found that habitat destruction had fragmented the green peafowl population in China and led to a precipitous decline in numbers: The researchers estimated that there were between 235 and 280 green peafowl roaming the country in 2017, down from 800 to 1,100 two decades before. A court in southwestern China’s Yunnan province ruled that construction on a local hydropower station should be suspended immediately to protect an endangered bird species. The case, filed in 2017 by the Beijing-based environmental organization Friends of Nature and first heard by a court in 2018, is China’s first preventive public interest civil lawsuit aiming to protect endangered wildlife before environmental damage occurs. While using legal means to protect the Green Peacock and its habitat, Friends of Nature found that the Chinese public's awareness, understanding and concern about endangered species need to be improved. Therefore, Friends of Nature has carried out a series of media communication, public participation and cross-over cooperation activities.


    - Direct response to Article 15 goal "life on land": Green peacock is a globally endangered species and the flagship species of forest areas in China and Southeast Asia. Friends of Nature’s effective protection of green peacock species also brings a scale effect of ecosystem protection . - it is necessary to perfect, regulate and standardize the Laws, regulations and policies in the field of environmental protection; - the promotion of public awareness and public participation In the field of endangered animal protection

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    - The actions in this case make it more likely that the species protection goals and ecosystem protection goals in the 2030 target will be achieved. - The Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will be held in Yunnan, China in 2021. This case was conducted in Yunnan, which is of landmark significance. - As China’s first preventive public interest civil lawsuit, The suspension of hydropower station construction has preserved the last complete habitat of green peafowls in China, thus ensuring the survival, reproduction and population development of the last 500 green peacocks. - This case has made the best practice for China and more countries to protect endangered species and ecosystems through the judicial system in the future

    Implementation methodologies

    (1) From 2017 to 2018, Friends of Nature organized public welfare lawyers, wildlife protection workers and scientific researchers to conduct field research, investigation and evidence collection in the last complete habitat of Green Peacock in Yunnan, China; (2) The case was filed by Friends of Nature in 2017, and it was heard by the court for the first time in 2018 and won in 2020. It has become the most influential wildlife protection public interest lawsuit in China in recent years. (3) Through the lawsuit, the project that destroyed the habitat of the green peacock was stopped, and the green peacock regained their precious habitat, avoiding the fate of regional extinction. (4) This lawsuit has become the best practice case of the Supreme People's Court of China in 2020. Based on this lawsuit, Friends of Nature continue to promote a series of policy advocacy for terrestrial animal protection. (5) Media communication, report and Press conferences locally and globally; (6) Public activities: science lectures and art exhibitions;Online activities: social media topics, webcast and online interactive games; (7) fund-raising: Raise money to protect Green Peafowl


    (1) result of judgment: construction on a local hydropower station should be suspended immediately to protect an endangered bird species. (2) Friends of Nature formally submitted more than 10 decision-making suggestion letters and policy proposals (3) More than 200 original and reprinted reports in the most influential political, economic, cultural and life media in China; (4) Public activities: Press conferences, science lectures and art exhibitions, participants was nearly 10000. (5) Online activities: social media topics, webcast and online interactive games, participants and covrage was nearly 60,000,000. (6) fund-raising: Help Friends Of Nature raise more than 170,000 yuan from the public - Public awareness of endangered species and public attention to the protection of endangered species has increased significantly; - More young people and young families are involved in public activities to protect endangered species; - More touching artistic creations with the theme of endangered species were born; - It strongly supported Friends Of Nature’s fund-raising.

    Factors and Constraints

    The success of protect Green Peafowl public activities depends on Friends of Nature’s rich and ten-year accumulation in the field of environmental public interest litigation, good media relations, trust and cooperation with artists in music, art, origami, building blocks and other fields, high sensitivity to social media hot topics, and full use of new medias.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The art and aesthetic education courses developed to protect the Green Peafowl can be replicated and extended to public activities, youth activities and campus activities all over China. The public can also easily create their own Green Peafowl Art works through the tutorials created by artists.

    COVID-19 Impact

    During the period of covid-19, the public activities of protecting Green Peafowl were affected and the number and frequency of public activities decreased. However, covid-19 has made the Chinese public pay unprecedented attention to the relationship between wildlife and human beings, and the topic of protecting green peaowl has become more and more popular on the Internet and social media.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    30 March 2017 (start date)
    30 December 2021 (date of completion)
    More information
    Contact Information

    Miao, Brand & communication director