Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 2 News List

International bird conservation needs more local efforts

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The protection of endangered birds in Asia calls for efforts by locals in many different areas, including Taiwan.

According to a new book, Saving Asia's Threatened Birds, released yesterday by Bird Life International in Tokyo, more than 100 sites that are critically important for globally threatened birds remain unprotected. To avoid the extinction of 324 threatened bird species, or 12 percent of Asia's total bird population, the international bird conservation organization suggests ecological conservation should be stressed in these areas.

The book says that one kind of bird in Taiwan is critically endangered, while seven others are on the endangered list and 15 species are facing a high risk of becoming extinct.

Three places in Taiwan are mentioned because of the presence there of different kinds of rare birds. Tsengwen estuary in Tainan County is listed as one of the outstanding important bird areas on the China Sea coast, because the wetland supports almost half of the global population of endangered black-faced spoonbills in winter.

In addition, Matsu archipelago is mentioned because it is the only known breeding site of the Chinese crested tern. There are less than 10 of these birds left in the world.

Meanwhile, the book says the survival of the Taiwan bulbul in Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan is severely threatened because of hybridization with the closely related Chinese bulbul.

Chiang Kuen-dar (江昆達), secretary-general of the Wild Bird Federation Taiwan, told the Taipei Times that the book highlights the importance of environmental protection for bird conservation.

"Birdwatchers should not fix their eyes only upon certain kinds of birds. Making efforts to protect their habitats remains important," Chiang said.

He said that preserving a healthy environment for birds can ensure good quality ecological systems and further the protection of all kinds of creatures.

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