China’s rare bird population grows but challenges remain

XINHUA

BEIJING, May 15 (Xinhua) — China’s efforts to save its endangered birds are paying off as the population of some rare birds living in the wild, such as the crested ibis, are increasing.

But the country’s rare birds are still at risk due to shrinking habitats and increasing human activities, according to the State Forestry Administration (SFA).

Also, poaching and illegal trafficking continue to pose a threat, said Yin Hong, deputy director of SFA, on Friday when she attended a ceremony held in Beijing marking the 30th anniversary of the launch of Bird-Loving Week in China.

According to the SFA, the population of many endangered birds has increased rapidly over the past 30 years, and the number of crested ibis has risen from merely seven to more than 1,600 over the three decades.

The wild population of 100 rare and endangered species, including cranes, pheasants and plovers, is gradually increasing, according the SFA.

The SFA has also released human-bred crested ibis, red-crowned cranes and yellow-bellied tragopans, all endangered species, into the wild.

Yin said the SFA would extend the protection network for birds and wild animals in the future by building more natural reserves and setting up more monitoring stations for animals in the wild.

China has upped its efforts to protect wildlife in recent years by dealing with poachers more severely.

Earlier this month, a man in northeast China’s Liaoning Province was sentenced to 10 years in prison for hunting protected wild birds in a nature reserve — the heaviest penalty for poaching since the reserve was established 20 years ago.

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