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Home >> China
UPDATED: 15:42, April 23, 2006
Japanese NGO donates insect-killing lamps to NW China province
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A Japanese non-governmental organization (NGO) has donated 100 insect-killing lamps to Northwest China's Shaanxi Province to help farmers protect their crops and fruits.

The lamps, valued at more than 100,000 yuan (12,500 U.S. dollars), will be used in Yangxian County, a large habitat and reserve for the red ibis, an endangered bird under state protection, the Xi'an Evening News reported.

Farmers have been prohibited from using fertilizers or pesticides that could damage the health and habitat of the ibis, resulting in a drop in grain output.

Yoshio Muramoto, the 81-year-old president of the Japan-China Association for Red Ibis Protection, a Japanese farmers' NGO, learned of the dilemma in September last year while visiting the county, and decided to help the farmers with a fund-raising effort to buy the lamps.

Muramoto has been working for the protection of the red ibis for half a century, and has visited Yangxian County more than 20 times since 1986.

The lamps will be handed out to farmers in 16 villages, according to the local bureau for civil affairs.

The bureau will also dispatch professional technical workers to help farmers with their installation on 258 hectares of croplands and orchards.

The red ibis, with snowy, pink-tinged feathers, a red face and a sloping black beak, is one of the world's most endangered bird species. Yangxian County and surrounding areas are home to a large proportion of the red ibis population.

Their numbers declined drastically in the 1950s due to poaching, pollution and the use of pesticides.

In the early 1980s, only seven red ibises remained in China, but the number has risen back to 800, including over 400 wild birds, thanks to government efforts.

The local government bans hunting, shooting, logging and poisonous baits in red ibis habitats.

Source: Xinhua

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