Res­cue cen­ter helps wounded birds fly again

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG XIAOMIN in Dalian, Liaon­ing zhangx­i­aomin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ev­ery au­tumn, tens of millions of mi­grat­ing birds fly south for the winter vi­aLaotieshan Moun­tain on the south­ern tip of Liaodong Penin­sula, Liaon­ing prov­ince, where they stop for a rest be­fore fly­ing across the Bo­hai Sea.

Some of them, how­ever, are in­jured and need help.

Ac­cord­ing to Lin Xizhen, deputy di­rec­tor of Dalian En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau, lo­cal vol­un­teers res­cue more than 100 wounded preda­tory birds each year.

He said the govern­ment will al­lot 500,000 yuan ($72,600) for two clin­ics — equipped with X-ray ma­chines, shad­ow­less lamps and other pro­fes­sional equip­ment — to treat rap­tors such as the greater spot­ted ea­gle, white-tailed sea ea­gle and bearded vul­ture.

On Nov 8, a wounded golden ea­gle, which­was­res­cued by bureau staff, was set free at Liaon­ing Snake Is­land Laotieshan Na­tional Nature Re­serve in Dalian, where a rap­tor res­cue cen­ter was es­tab­lished.

“This is the first one in China es­tab­lished by govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions,” Lin said.

Sun Kang, a pro­fes­sor at Dalian-based Liaon­ing Nor­mal Univer­sity, said they pre­vi­ously had not been able to as­sist badly wounded birds.

“We could only give them sim­ple treat­ment,” Sun said.

“Some NGOs and an­i­mal pro­tec­tion vol­un­teers have set up rap­tor res­cue cen­ters in Bei­jing, Shenyang and other cities. But as the first one es­tab­lished by govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions, the Dalian cen­ter will play a pilot role for the res­cue work of other na­tional nature re­serves,” she said.

Sun has been a vol­un­teer in the ef­fort to pro­tect mi­grat­ing birds since 2009, when she and sev­eral out­door sports en­thu­si­asts climbed Laotieshan Moun­tain and saw birds trapped by dozens of nets. They started to rip down the nets to save the birds.

Statis­tics from the Dalian En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau show that, through the help of vol­un­teers and the sup­port of lo­cal govern­ment, the num­ber of nets has shrunk from thou­sands at that time to 412 last year.

Some vil­lagers who made a liv­ing from catch­ing mi­grat­ing birds have joined the team.

“They live on the moun­tain. It is eas­ier for them to find wounded birds. More im­por­tant, they can be good ex­am­ples for the vil­lagers,” Sun said.

She said the govern­ment of Lushunkou district has made great ef­forts to pro­tect mi­grat­ing birds.

In the past, restau­rants of­fered bird dishes, and a kilo­gram of dumplings made with bird meat as much as for 1,000 yuan.

YiQing­tao, Party chief of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Lushunkou District Com­mit­tee, said the govern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to pro­tect birds.

In ad­di­tion to the se­vere crack­down on the hunt­ing and eat­ing of mi­grat­ing birds, they have or­ga­nized bird­watch­ing events.

Yi said the govern­ment is de­ter­mined to pro­tect the eco­log­i­cal sys­tem of Laotieshan Moun­tain, an ideal bird­watch­ing site fa­mous among bird-lovers around the world.

As more res­i­dents be­come aware of their value, more birds will be saved, Yi said.

XIAO SHUAI / FOR CHINA DAILY

An in­jured Eurasian bit­tern, a wad­ing bird re­lated to the heron, re­ceives treat­ment at Liaon­ing Snake Is­land Laotieshan Na­tional Nature Re­serve.

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