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Storks’ plight raises larger concerns

By Zhou Ping (Global Times)

09:29, November 15, 2012

Volunteers flocked to Tianjin this week to help save dozens of oriental storks that were poisoned after they apparently landed in contaminated wetlands during their migration, raising concerns over the safety of all migratory birds.

Volunteers have found 32 poisoned oriental storks, eight of which died, 11 have recovered and 13 that remain in critical condition are being treated by the Tianjin wild animal protection authority.

Over 100 volunteers have arrived in Tianjin from across the country this week to help with the rescue effort.

A bird protection organization named "let migrant birds fly," which claimed to have been involved in the rescue effort, said on Sina Weibo Tuesday that 21 oriental storks had died. However, this number has not been confirmed.

The writer said three poisoned pools had been found in the wetlands that were littered with the bodies of fish and other birds.

Empty bottles of pesticides were found nearby and authorities had collected water samples for testing on Wednesday, said the Weibo posting.

A survey of Asian waterfowl in 2001 found that only 3,000 oriental storks remained worldwide and insiders estimate fewer than 2,500 remain today, China Youth Daily reported.

Migratory birds flying death routes on their way south have been reported around the country.

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