Wintering swans boost tourism in Chinese provinces

(Xinhua) 14:41, December 06, 2023

TAIYUAN, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- With the onset of winter, flocks of whooper swans from Siberia migrate to China, with their habitats in several provinces boosting local tourism, attracting photographers and visitors eager to witness the seasonal spectacle.

The Sanwan Wetland in the Yellow River basin, located in Pinglu County in north China's Shanxi Province, is in a leeward location and has a mild winter climate, making it an ideal destination for wintering swans.

"The landscape is rich in vegetation. The swans are photographed like ballet dancers, especially when the water has just frozen," said Li Yunsheng, a photography enthusiast who drove from Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Li said he comes to the wetland to take photographs every year, noting the number of whooper swans has continued to increase in recent years.

According to Wang Chao from the county's forestry bureau, the number of whooper swans wintering here has exceeded 10,000 thanks to the improving ecological environment of the Yellow River basin.

In response to the increasing number of tourists, Pinglu County has developed an ecological wetland park with trails, observation platforms and other facilities available to visitors for free.

In Sanwan Village, situated opposite the park, Xie Lixia runs a restaurant serving tourists coming to see the swans. According to Xie, she can receive over 100 visitors a day during the busy seasons.

About 40 km from Pinglu County, there is a swan resort located in Ruicheng County that has drawn tourists with its unique offerings. Visitors here have the opportunity to create DIY souvenirs, such as canvas bags and lanterns.

In the city of Rongcheng in east China's Shandong Province, swans have also become a name card for local tourism.

A social media influencer named "Shen Yiyan" has shared her sightseeing experience in the city. Her post on Xiaohongshu, or Little Red Book, China's lifestyle-focused social media platform, reads: "Navigate to Swan Lake in Yandunjiao Village, and a random shot there is a great photo with a magnificent view. There are many places to eat and stay in the surrounding small fishing villages."

To enhance the living environment for the whooper swans, many places have implemented measures to safeguard these species, which are under second-class national protection.

For instance, an artificial grass wrack restoration project in Rongcheng has helped provide abundant food for swans. In Pinglu County, 20 rangers have been appointed to maintain wetland facilities and actively plant crops like corn and winter wheat as supplementary food for the swans.

He Jianxi, who has worked in the Sanwan Wetland for more than 20 years, said whooper swans are vigilant and aggressive in nature, but they are not afraid of him.

"They know that I'm kind to them," the ranger said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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