Beijing's biodiversity flourishes through enhanced wildlife protection

(Xinhua) 14:19, September 04, 2023

BEIJING, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- As twilight descended upon a forest park in eastern Beijing, a pupil unlatched a blue cage under the guidance of an animal protection professional, letting out a juvenile owl and watching as it flew into the lush woodland.

Several other children stood nearby, their faces filled with excitement and curiosity, eager for their own chance to release a bird.

In an effort to demonstrate scientific bird release and protect biodiversity, the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center recently organized a wild animal release event at the Central Green Forest Park in Tongzhou District.

More than 50 citizens participated in the event.

"This time, we returned 10 rescued baby birds to nature. They underwent professional feeding and training to readapt to the natural wild environment. Their health and survival skills were evaluated," said Zhang Yaqiong, a staff member at the center.

Situated along the bird migration route between East Asia and Australia, Beijing has been drawing in an increasing number of birds, thanks to a raft of conservation efforts, such as the establishment of urban forests and the prohibition of wild animal hunting.

According to the Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau, Beijing has currently established 79 natural protected areas. In 2022, the capital achieved a forest coverage rate of 44.8 percent and an urban green coverage rate of 49.3 percent, respectively.

The latest survey shows that Beijing now hosts 515 species of wild birds, an increase of nearly 100 species in the past decade.

"Beijingers now have a greater awareness of wildlife rescue and habitat rehabilitation," Zhang said, noting that the number of injured and trapped animals brought in for assistance has risen from hundreds to thousands each year.

In response, the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center has established breeding platforms and aid stations within wildlife habitats. "This year alone, we have saved 102 owls and many other animals," Zhang added.

"Beijing has transformed into one of the metropolises with the richest biodiversity, housing 608 species of wild terrestrial vertebrates and 2,088 species of plants," said Ji Jianwei, an official with the Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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