The air force has incurred the wrath of local bird lovers after troops guarding an airbase shot and wounded a rare species of migratory bird making its first visit to Taiwan for over 70 years.
The endangered red-crowned crane was injured last Tuesday when guards at the Hsinchu airbase were trying to scatter birds gathering at the base, the air force said yesterday.
The bird was rushed to the Taipei city zoo, where it underwent surgery. Zoo officials said it was in a stable condition.
The air force insisted the guards did not mean to injure the bird, and pointed out the importance of removing birds from the base for safety reasons.
But local bird lovers were unhappy and accused the air force of trying to cover up the incident.
"Why did the air force not make the incident public until it was reported by a newspaper yesterday?" said Ho Yi-hsien, spokesman for the Wild Bird Society of Taipei.
The red-crowned crane is one of the most endangered of the 15 crane species.