Mon, Jul 28, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Wasps nest puts a wrench in works of tree-conservation

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The community event "Love Ching-tien, salvage old trees" reported in yesterday's news has been canceled after certified tree-climber Su Jyun-lang (蘇俊郎) was stung by three wasps while attempting to remove their hive from a big Indian rubber tree on Saturday evening.

The event was organized to bring attention to the plight of Long-an Borough (龍安里), scene of Taipei City's ever-diminishing old trees, which, although protected by law, are sawed by residents.

Su, 52, a professional tree-climber certified by Tree Climbing International USA, was to introduce safe tree-climbing to children at the event before he was stung and taken to Taipei Veteran's General Hospital for treatment, according to Chang Wei-hsiu (張維修), a Ph.D. Student in the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning at the National Taiwan University (NTU).

"The NTU's Entomology students used fumigation to dispel the wasps. Some wasps did not go far away and flew back to attack Mr. Su, who was checking details on the tree befor the activities," Chang said.

Although some were disappointed at the cancellation of the tree-climbing, event about 200 Long-an Borough residents swarmed in front of the Indian rubber tree where the signature drive took place.

"I think this activity is meaningful to us. I did not notice that trees were precious until they were cut. It's a shame," said a 60-year-old elderly man who lives beside the spot where five trees were cut.

Many parents with their children, young students, and seniors all paid attention to the tour guide and discussed old trees with one other.

"Residents have reached consensus to set up a foundation to raise money for similar activities in cooperation with the Cultural Affairs Bureau," said Chang.

The event also includes a guided tour of the oldest trees in the borough and a signature drive aimed at saving old trees at No. 9, Alley 7, Ching-tien Street (青田街), where five old trees have been cut down recently by a resident surnamed Liao, the owner of the Howard Plaza Hotel.

Liao was fined NT$50,000 on July 17 by the Taipei City Government's Cultural Affairs Bureau according to a Taipei City Tree Protection Bylaw (台北市樹木保護自治條例).

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