SW China’s Yunnan going all out to protect endangered green peafowl

(People's Daily Online) 13:22, September 15, 2021

In recent years, southwest China’s Yunnan province has made concerted efforts to protect the green peafowl, an endangered wild species and the only peafowl native to China, increasing its population and expanding its habitats.

Photo shows a wild green peafowl captured by an infrared camera. (Photo courtesy of the Yunnan Provincial Forestry and Grassland Bureau)

The species’ population, which is under first-class state protection in the country, has risen from between 485 and 547 in 2018 to between 555 and 600 today, according to Xiang Ruwu, an official with the Yunnan Provincial Forestry and Grassland Bureau.

Besides, the species are now scattered in more places throughout the province. Footage captured by infrared cameras in 2019 indicated that the species was living in more habitats in the Konglonghe Nature Reserve in the Shuangbai county of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, compared to only two in 2015. And the species also appeared along the upper stream of the Lishe River for the first time.

This progress could not be made without Yunnan’s long-term protection efforts. As of 2020, the province has invested more than 23 million yuan (about $3.57 million) in the protection of the green peafowl.

Xiang Ruwu explained that the province has effectively improved the habitats of the species by protecting the ecological environment and natural resources of the nature reserves where green peafowls are found, including the Konglonghe Nature Reserve, the Daxueshan National Nature Reserve in Yongde county, and the Yubaiding Nature Reserve is Eshan county.

Yunnan, along with institutes such as the Kunming Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, established an artificial breeding base for the green peafowl to increase the population of the species. So far, the 21 green peafowls raised by the base have laid over 100 eggs, with 27 newly hatched peachicks.

The province also established a joint protection mechanism in 2017, mobilizing forces of the government, wildlife protection and public welfare organizations, as well as local villagers.

Yaocun village in Xinping Yi and Dai Autonomous County, for example, started the joint protection program in 2018. Villagers formed a patrol team to protect the green peafowl and provide water and food sources to the species.

Experts often come to the village to give training sessions on the bird. “We explain why protection is necessary to the villagers, impart knowledge on how to go about protecting, and instruct them on using infrared cameras and analyzing the footage. As a result, the villagers have gained a stronger sense of protection, and their efforts have proved effective,” explained Han Lianxian, one of the experts visiting the village and the general-secretary of the Yunnan wildlife conservation association. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)