Yongnianwa Wetland Park in Hebei provides ideal habitat for wild birds after decade of ecological restoration efforts

(People's Daily Online) 11:22, May 25, 2022

As of May this year, more than 130 kinds of resident birds and 30 types of migratory birds have been spotted in the Yongnianwa Wetland Park, Yongnian district of Handan city in north China's Hebei Province, according to data from the district's natural resources and planning bureau.

Photo shows employees of the Yongnianwa Wetland Park at work inside the park in Handan city, north China's Hebei Province. (Chinanews.com/Zhang Li)

Covering an area of 46,000 mu (about 3,066.7 hectares), Yongnianwa Lake has become an important habitat for wild birds, thanks to the intensified efforts taken to improve the local ecological environment in recent years.

However, due to the breakneck speed of development and the problem of water pollution back in the 1970s and 1980s, the lake's total water area dwindled while the types and populations of birds gradually declined.

In 2012, the lake became a pilot national wetland park. To improve the lake's ecology, Yongnian district started to restore the lake's ecosystem by dismantling 425,000 square meters of buildings located in its wetland area while launching projects such as returning farmland back into wetlands, the ecological relocation of residents, and the diversion of water. The lake's water area has expanded by 10 square kilometers thanks to these efforts.

Photo shows a river tern inside the Yongnianwa Wetland Park. (Chinanews.com/Zhang Li)

Through persistent ecological restoration, the ecology of the once-dwindling lake has gradually recovered, which has attracted many birds to stop over and reproduce there.

To ensure a better habitat and sufficient food for wild birds, Yongnian district established a monitoring team for the wetland park in early 2021, which is dedicated to stopping any activities that do damage to the local ecosystem.

Owing to 10 years of ecological restoration efforts, the number and types of resident birds and migratory birds in the wetland park have increased significantly, including Baer's pochards, a critically endangered species globally, according to Lu Weitao from the district's natural resources and planning bureau. In February this year, reed parrotbills, a rare species unique to China, were spotted in the wetland park.

Photo shows a great blue heron inside the Yongnianwa Wetland Park. (Chinanews.com/Zhang Li)

Photo shows black-winged stilts inside the Yongnianwa Wetland Park. (Chinanews.com/Zhang Li)

Photo shows a great crested grebe inside the Yongnianwa Wetland Park. (Chinanews.com/Zhang Li)

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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