Birders flock to Taiwan
Southern Taiwan is gearing up to receive a migration of birdwatchers from all over the world as they converge on Greater Tainan and Yunlin and Chiayi counties for the Birdathon contest, an event that goes hand-in-hand with the seasonal movement of bird populations. The three areas are hosting the second edition of the marathon-like birding competition to raise awareness of the nation’s environment and to boost ecotourism. Birders will have 30 hours to spot as many species as they can find in a 5,400km2 area that includes a range of terrains, according to the Administration of Southwest Coast National Scenic Area. Planning will be essential as teams scramble to get from the mountains of Alishan to the coastal Budai Salt Pan Wetlands, said the Taiwan Ecotourism Association, the event’s co-organizer. Fourteen teams have signed up so far for the contest, which will begin at 8:30am on Oct. 19. Registration information can be found at http://en.taiwanbirdathon.org.
MOFA hopes Berlin ties hold
Taiwan hopes to maintain close relations with Germany, following the re-election of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. Relations between the two countries have been warm, given that Germany is Taiwan’s largest trade partner in Europe, Department of European Affairs head Zhang Ming-zhong (張銘忠) said at a press briefing. The nation hopes Germany’s new government will maintain those close ties, Zhang said. The Merkel-led conservative Christian Democratic Union and Bavarian Christian Social Union bloc won 41.5 percent of the vote, while the Social Democrats came second with 26 percent in Sunday’s general election.