Gambling used as eco tool
In an effort to increase public awareness of the endangered black-faced spoonbill, Taijiang National Park has developed a contest that invites members of the public to place bets on the spoonbill’s migration to Taiwan this year. The contest, called “Happy Lottery,” is to be launched today. The first competition asks participants to forecast the arrival time, date and quantity of the first flock of spoonbills to arrive in the park’s Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Area. The second competition will be won by whoever can most accurately predict the total number of birds in the area in November, which is when conservation groups usually conduct their annual census of the bird. The contest will accept submissions from today until one week before the November census.Prizes will include scientific gadgets used by ecologists. Members of the public can place their wagers at www.tjnp.gov.tw.
Delivery service started
Beginning on Thursday next week, passengers flying from Taiwan no longer have to worry about throwing carry-on items away at the airport security check. They now have a second choice — to send them home. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the Aviation Police Office will offer a service that allows passengers to send items that are prohibited on planes, such as knives and nail clippers, to a designated address in Taiwan. In the past, misunderstandings have arisen when passengers have insisted on keeping banned items that they claim to have special meaning for them, the Aviation Police Office said. It was decided to introduce the delivery service, which will be paid for by the passengers, to avoid any unpleasantness.
Rare horses doing well
Taipei Zoo officials said on Wednesday that the keeper charged with taking care of the zoo’s wild horses has an uncanny knack for dealing with them. Przewalski’s horse, commonly known as the Asian wild horse or the Mongolian wild horse, is such a handful that even routine checkups, vaccinations and medical treatment can be fraught with difficulty, officials said. However, senior keeper Hu Chung-yuan (胡鍾源), who has 13 years of experience, is able to deal with all the zoo’s horses except the oldest stallion. There are only about 1,500 of these endangered horses left in the world, the zoo said, which is home to 10 of them.
Medicine wrongly stored
An informal poll conducted by the Department of Health has found that 40 percent of respondents did not store medicine properly or know how to dispose correctly of unused drugs. The survey found that respondents often stored their medication in kitchens, bathrooms or bedrooms instead of cool and dry places as recommended, said Tsai Hsueh-yung (戴雪詠), a section chief responsible for drug safety assessment under the Food and Drug Administration. Tsai said the most important principle in storing medicine is to keep it in a dark, dry drawer or cabinet away from heat, light and moisture. Getting rid of unused drugs and pills was another area in which people lacked basic knowledge, the survey found. Tsai said that the best option for most medications is incineration, but special drugs, including those prescribed to cancer patients, should be returned to the hospital or clinic for proper disposal. Tsai said it was important not to flush them because the drugs would dissolve and contaminate the water.