Greener Beijing fosters a bird-friendly abode

(Xinhua) 09:46, March 04, 2022

Birds are seen at the Beijing Wild Duck Lake Wetland in the suburban Yanqing District of Beijing, capital of China, April 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao)

BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) -- What is the first thing that pops into your mind when mentioning Beijing: The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, or the labyrinth of traditional alleys?

Few know that the Chinese capital is home to a stunning variety of wildlife, especially birds.

Home to over 500 species of wild birds, Beijing ranks second among the capitals of G20 members, behind only Brasilia, in terms of avian diversity, according to Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau.

"Beijing has become one of the metropolises with the richest biodiversity," Ji Jianwei, an official with the bureau, said Thursday on the occasion of World Wildlife Day. "Last year, the number of birds recorded in the city exceeded 3.6 million."

With improvement to its natural environment, Beijing, located on the bird migration route between East Asia and Australia, has been attracting all the more birds.

The red-crowned crane is regarded as one of the most sensitive indicator species of the wetland ecosystem. The Beijing Wild Duck Lake Wetland in Yanqing District greeted two red-crowned cranes for the first time during last winter, signifying its improving ecology.

Local authorities in Beijing's Fangshan District, which is home to black storks, have strengthened habitat preservation for the waterfowl whose population has surpassed 100. The presence of black storks has also increased in other parts of the city.

In addition to birds, Beijing has gained a greater diversity of wildlife, thanks to a raft of conservation efforts such as the establishment of urban forests and prohibition of hunting of wild animals, Ji said.

As of last year, Beijing had established 79 natural protected areas including nature reserves, scenic spots, forest parks and wetland parks, which cover around 22 percent of the city's total area and have played a significant role in protecting biodiversity and improving the environment.

In 2021, the forest coverage rate of the capital and the green coverage rate in the urban areas reached 44.6 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

"Beijing is just an example of Chinese cities which put greater focus on the conservation of the ecological environment," said Tian Hengjiu, deputy director of Beijing Songshan National Nature Reserve.

"As a nature reserve, we have obtained much support in terms of talent and funds," Tian said. "In the future, we hope that we could deploy numerous technologies to learn more about the lives of animals and plants in the wild, and better serve them." 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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