Thu, Jun 14, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Chinese magpie hunt is bearing fruit, officials say

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Work to hunt down Chinese magpies in the mountainous areas of central Taiwan in an effort to protect endemic species has begun to bear fruit, Taichung County Government officials said yesterday.

So far this year, three adult Chinese magpies, four young and six eggs have been found by "ecological police" under measures authorized by the Council of Agriculture's Endemic Species Research Institute.

transit

The captured birds have been temporarily housed at the institute's headquarters before being handed over to Taipei Zoo, officials with the Taichung County Department of Agri-culture said.

The hunt, sponsored by the institute, the Forestry Department and the Taichung County Department of Agriculture, has focused on the Wuling (武陵) area deep in the mountains of Taichung County.

local threat

The department began hunting down the Chinese magpies last year after receiving reports from mountain climbers and wildlife conservationists.

According to the reports, the birds had been seen in the Wuling area and there was concern that their growing numbers could pose a serious threat to the Formosan blue magpie, which is an endemic species.

hunt continues

Officials said that because sightings have continued despite some of the birds being captured, the hunt would continue.

The magpie, whose chattering is said to signify good news, is a symbol of happiness.

Adult Formosan blue magpies have steel blue coloring on their wings and shiny black crests, while the Chinese magpies have white crests.

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