Chinese officials search for missing migratory birds

February 17th, 2008 - 9:00 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, Feb 17 (Xinhua) Wildlife officials have started a massive search for about 100,000 migratory birds that disappeared from the Poyang Lake Nature Reserve after the worst winter in 100 years hit southern China. Luo Shengjin, deputy director of the reserve in the eastern Jiangxi province, said about 200,000 wild birds had arrived before the snow and freezing temperatures began last month, but officials could spot only 40,000 after the weather began to ease last week.

Luo said the data could be inaccurate as the monitoring equipment was not advanced and officials could not reach the centre of the frozen lake. As the reserve covers only 10 percent of the lake, some of the birds could have migrated to other areas.

Though no mass death of fowls have been reported, it is fear that the birds might have perished as the unusually harsh winter destroyed many of the plants the avians feed on, said Luo.

Ji Weitao, director of the reserve, said they were planning to requisition the service of helicopters to conduct the search.

China’s largest fresh water lake Poyang is an important habitat for migratory birds and an internationally significant wetland. About 95 percent of the world’s white cranes, half of the white-naped cranes and 60 percent of swan geese are believed to migrate there each year.

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