Rare birds spotted in Dongting Lake in China's Hunan

(People's Daily Online) 16:14, January 20, 2023

Results of a waterfowl monitoring program show that 378,300 birds of 72 species of waterfowl have been found wintering in Dongting Lake area of central China's Hunan Province this winter, said the Forestry Department of Hunan on Jan.19.

Among them were 199 birds from nine species under first-class state protection in China, such as the white crane and Baer's pochard, as well as 34,800 birds from eight species under second-class state protection, such as the tundra swan and grey crane.

Photo shows birds monitored by technicians in West Dongting Lake, central China's Hunan Province. (Photo courtesy of the Forestry Department of Hunan Province)

Listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, a black-faced spoonbill appeared in the area for the first time in five years.

In recent years, Hunan has made multiple efforts to improve the ecology of Dongting Lake, which is a wetland of global importance and a major wintering ground for birds across the world. It has built three key international wetlands and 24 provincial level wetlands in the area, recovered and rebuilt 18,000 mu (1,200 hectares) of degraded wetlands, reclaimed 15,000 mu of habitats for wildlife, and restored 537,200 mu of marshland and land previously affected by expansion of poplar plantations.

Photo shows birds monitored by technicians in Nanxian county, central China's Hunan Province. (Photo courtesy of the Forestry Department of Hunan Province)

With technical support from the Hunan Branch Academy of the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) , forestry departments from 23 localities in the province and management bodies of 26 nature reserves participated in the monitoring program. The joint and simultaneous efforts of the participants mean the results have maximum credibility, said Niu Yandong, an associate researcher of CAF Hunan Branch Academy, who also called for continuous efforts from the province to restore the habitats of migratory birds. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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