Sur­vey: Habi­tat loss top threat to wildlife

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By CHEN LIANG and GAO TIAN­PEI

Habi­tat loss is the sin­gle big­gest threat to the coun­try’s wildlife — more than dis­tur­bances from ma­jor con­struc­tion projects near na­ture re­serves, and more than di­rect hu­man in­ter­fer­ence such as poach­ing — ac­cord­ing to a na­tional wildlife sur­vey.

Of­fi­cials from the State Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­closed the re­sults of the sur­vey, part of the se­cond na­tional ter­res­trial wild an­i­mal sur­vey launched in 2011, at a news con­fer­ence on Jan Thurs­day28 in Bei­ Bei­jing.

With par­tic­i­pa­tion of more than 270 peo­ple from 80 re­search in­sti­tutes, col­leges and na­ture re­serves in the coun­try, the sur­vey con­cluded at the end of 2014, said Yan Xun, chief en­gi­neer for wildlife con­ser­va­tion with the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Com­par­ingthe re­sultswith those of the first na­tional sur­vey launched in 1995, Yan said, re­searchers found that twospecies, the Cen­tralAsian tor­toise and Mang­shan pit viper, had dwin­dled in num­ber. Pop­u­la­tions of five of the 14 species, in­clud­ing the bunting, al­li­ga­tor and three other pit vipers, have re­mained sta­ble. The other seven species saw­pop­u­la­tion in­creases.

Among the win­ning species, the pop­u­la­tion of crested ibis, a large wa­ter bird found only in China, in­creased dra­mat­i­cally from 147 in­di­vid­u­als in 1995 to 1,549 recorded in this sur­vey. The breed­ing pop­u­la­tion of black-faced spoon­bills, an­other large wa­ter bird, in­creased from nine in­di­vid­u­als to 28, and its win­ter­ing pop­u­la­tion grew from 120 birds to 294.

“Our anal­y­sis shows that 34.69 per­cent of species have been threat­ened by all kinds of habi­tat loss, in­clud­ing dis­tur­bances, de­struc­tion, seg­men­ta­tion and degra­da­tion,” Yan said. “It’s a threat more se­ri­ous than other threats.”

Now, liv­ing mainly in the coun­try’s pro­tected na­ture re­serves, the 14 species are bet­ter pro­tected than in the past, he said.

Con­tact the writ­ers through gao­tian­pei@chi­nadaily.

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