Mon, Apr 16, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Kinmen’s National Park police try to protect birds

DISSERVICE:Park officials say farmers are hurting their own interests by using nets to catch birds that actually feed on the pests killing their crops

Staff Writer, with CNA

In an effort to protect migratory birds that pass through Taiwan in the spring, the Kinmen National Park Police Department has begun stepping up efforts to track down illegal bird nets in the scenic park, especially in the Cihhu Lake area.

The department has received reports since last month that birds such as Besra -sparrowhawks have died after getting tangled up in illegal bird nets set up by farmers.

The department wants to put an end to the practice of setting up bird nets because of the birds’ importance to Kinmen.

The island county is part of a migration route for birds in East Asia, with populations peaking in April during the spring migratory season.

Migratory birds have now become one of the county’s main tourist attractions and need to be protected, park officials said.

By using nets to catch birds to protect their crops, farmers may be doing themselves a disservice, because many birds that live or hunt on farms in the area feed on crop pests rather than the crops.

The nets greatly impair nature’s pest control mechanism, park officials said.

Another concern for park administrators has been the practice of illegally capturing fish and shrimp with nets in the Cihhu Lake area, which is destroying the lake’s ecosystem and affecting bird activity in the area.

Cihhu Lake is a salty, or brackish, body of water rich in marine life.

One of its main attractions are the 10,000 great cormorants that come from the northern Amur River or southern part of Lake Baikal in Russia every November and leave in April or May the following year.

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