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Volunteers flocking to help save endangered swans in wetland

By Guo Rui (China Daily)

09:16, February 13, 2012

The body of a poisoned swan found in a wetland in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Feb 9. About 50 migratory birds have been found dead recently in the wetland. (China Daily / Jin Zhenqiang)

WUHAN - Many people have volunteered to help rescue white swans that are threatened with being poisoned and hunted in a wetland in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province.

However, experts have warned that too much attention could also be a problem for the birds.

The Wuhan Evening News reported last week that more than 50 migratory birds, including two white swans that are under national second-class protection, were found dead. A third swan was found with part of a metal trap on its leg.

Bags containing toxic pesticides have been found scattered around the wetland.

The reports have aroused much public concern, and a growing number of people have gone to the area to help protect these endangered animals.

A China Daily reporter on Sunday morning saw an animal protection group, with about 30 members, post a banner urging the public to "protect wild animals" in the wetland, where the birds' bodies were found.

"We are a civil organization and we volunteered to come here," said a young member, who only gave his surname as Liu. "We hope to raise public awareness about protecting these wild animals and alert government departments to take responsibility."

But the report also drew many cars full of curious spectators to the wetland, which shattered its natural silence.

"The place is popular for many wild animals, especially some migratory birds," said Huang Lide, a 48-year-old local farmer.

According to Huang, many migratory birds use the wetland as a transit hub and make their nests there year after year.

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