Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Wugu wetlands project going well:

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Society of Wilderness yesterday lauded the success of a project it launched last year in conjunction with Citibank to restore the ecosystem of Taipei County’s Wugu (五股) wetlands.

The two organizations unveiled the results of their conservation work over the past year and said that the numbers of migrant birds and other forms of wildlife had increased substantially.

“Wetlands are the origins of human life. The conservation efforts are not only for the migrant birds that reside there, but for the wellbeing of all life on Earth,” said Hsieh Hwey-lian (謝蕙蓮), a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s biodiversity research center.

In recent years, climate change had begun to seriously affect the chances of survival of much of the wildlife, she said.

“Many species of fish and birds reproduce or migrate according to the rhythm of nature. Once that rhythm is disturbed it is hard for them to adapt,” Hsieh said.

“Since we adopted the Wugu wetlands with Citibank, we have made a lot of effort improving the habitat for migrant birds. We have also done research on an endangered type of damselfly, the Mortonagrion hirosei Asahina,” society vice president Lai Jung-hsiao (賴榮孝) said.

Last year, the damselfly was spotted at the Wugu wetlands for the first time in many years, Lai said, adding that the number of migrant birds visiting the wetlands had also increased.

Lai said the organization was happy with the results so far, especially since the society has also taken 7,400 people on guided tours of the wetlands over the past year to teach them how the wellbeing of wetlands is relevant to humans.

As for the future, Lai called on the government to place all the wetlands along the Tamsui River — including Waziwei (挖仔尾), Hongshulin (紅樹林), Wugu and Huachiang Park (華江) — into one conservation area.

“When a migrant bird comes to Taiwan, it does not distinguish between Taipei City and Taipei County. To a bird, habitable wetland is habitable wetland,” Lai said.

If only part of the wetlands is habitable, birds will be cramped into a small area, seriously affecting their ability to reproduce, he said.

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