A South Korean expert in Taiwan to help the preservation of the black-faced spoonbills said yesterday that he opposes installing transmitters on the rare birds to investigate how they feed.
Kim Sooil, director of the Korea Endangered Species Recovery Center, made the remarks when he met with other conservation groups at the Livestock Disease Control Center of Tainan County.
Kim and other South Korean experts came to Taiwan following the deaths of scores of the endangered birds since Dec. 9. On Monday, the South Korean experts inspected the habitat of the black-faced spoonbills, the Chiku sanctuary near the estuary of the Tsengwen River in Tainan County.
Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chi (蘇煥智) said that some had suggested to him that 10 black-faced spoonbills currently convalescing in the livestock disease control center could be installed with transmitters before releasing them to the wetlands. That way, some thought, it would be possible to learn more about the birds' eating habit and where they get their food.
Conservation groups were the first to oppose the idea, saying that transmitters could impede the birds' flight and that the birds could not remove the transmitters even if they were uncomfortable.
Kim suggested that, instead of transmitters, colored rings could be attached to the birds' feet. Scientists and others could track the movement of the black-faced spoonbills by observing the different colored rings, he said.
Hsieh Yao-ching (謝耀清), director of the livestock disease control center, said that a South Korean island that is home to some spoonbills has an environment similar to Chiku's.
Kim's five-member delegation hopes to exchange experiences and ideas with the center's staff, Hsieh said.
Kim's delegation observed the efforts to rescue the black-faced spoonbills, and hope to use what the learned as a reference when similar situations take place in South Korea, Hsieh added.