Bird protection club takes flight

09:28, January 13, 2011      

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Guo Fangling peers through a spotting scope at birds nearby Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province. Photo: Courtesy of Guo Fangliang
Even children know that birds are good friends of humans, but the number of birds in the world is decreasing and that concerns Guo Fangliang, a junior at Wuhan Textile University, Hubei Province.

In June last year, Guo, 21, founded a bird watching and protection club on campus after doing some bird watching in 2008-09.

It has more than 40 members and also attracted bird-loving students from other universities.

"I am fond of protecting animals and so glad that many people have joined us," Guo told the Global Times.

"The university also offers us lots of support such as giving us funds, equipment and labs to help us better study and watch birds. Some teachers also teach us about saving birds," he said.

Every week, the members select one day to gather to watch birds in the surrounding areas of the campus.

Over a period of time they found some birds, especially migrating ones, are caught and killed by humans and that's when they decided to save the birds.

Bird bodyguards

"We found lots of wounded birds during our activities, and so far we have saved more than 80 birds," Guo said. "One time, we found a wild goose that was shot by hunters and we immediately brought it to the veterinary hospital. After the vet took out the bullet from its body, the bird revived.

"One month later, the goose recovered and we decided to free it. However, it did not fly away instantly but hovered over our heads for a long time. I think the wild goose was showing its gratitude to us."

Moved by the wild goose, Guo worked even harder to save more birds. However, Guo found that after they saved and freed the birds, sometimes people recaptured them. So, he decided to educate the locals about bird protection.

"I realized that only if we stop people from catching birds can the birds be really saved. Therefore, we began to talk with them about protecting birds, but some of them refused to listen to us because they believed the birds were crop-eaters," Guo said. "And some liked catching birds because they can be sold in a high price in the market."

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