For two ibises received, Japan returns 8 to China

December 11th, 2011 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS  

Shaan Tokyo, Dec 11 (IANS) Authorities in northern Japan Saturday transferred eight of 17 crested ibis birds to China, which had originally supplied these endangered birds’ over a decade ago to the country.

This event was marked by a special ceremony at the Niigata airport.

The rare birds, comprising six males and two females, were born in Sado city of Japan’s Niigata prefecture, Xinhua reported.

This was the fifth event of its kind since the programme was initiated in 2002.

A total of 28 crested ibises have been transfered to China so far.

China had presented a pair of the birds to Japan during the then Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s visit to Japan in 1998. Another three of the birds were later given as gifts to Japan.

Once common in Japan, China, Russia and the Korean Peninsula, zoologists thought the crested ibis became extinct in the first half of the 20th century. But in 1981, seven crested ibis were found in northwest China’s Yangxian county of Shaanxi province.

Japan has been endeavouring to reintroduce the endangered species to the wild. The country witnessed its last wild crested ibis die in 2003.

As per statistics, there are about 30 of these birds in the wild and 158 in captivity in Japan. I

In China, the number of these birds has risen to an estimated 1,617, including 997 in the wild, according to official statistics.

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