Fri, Jul 01, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Cicada advocates protest planned Tainan landfill

By Tsai Wen-chu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tainan conservationists opposed to a planned garbage landfill in Taijiang National Park (台江國家公園) gathered in the park’s windbreak on Saturday last week to observe the nighttime molting of an endangered cicada species, and to raise awareness of the ecological damage that they said would be caused by the landfill’s construction.

The conservationists, organized by students and faculty members of Tainan Community University’s Taijiang campus, said that the city plans to clear 7 hectares of the park’s windbreak for its landfill, cutting down 12,000 trees and destroying an important habitat for the Taiwanosemia hoppoensis, an endangered species unique to Taiwan.

National University of Tainan ecoscience professor Chang Yuan-mou (張原謀) and Taiwan Cicada Research Society president Chen Chen-hsiang (陳振祥) participated in the event and gave talks on the ecology of the cicadas, with many of the attendees observing cicada moltings for the first time.

“This is a night of good surprises for me. Taiwanosemia hoppoensis is a species endemic to Taiwan and the only species in its genus. There is a real diversity of species in the forest. We should not allow such a treasure to vanish,” Tainan Municipal Chang-an Elementary School teacher Weng Yu-min (翁育民) said.

“I felt the passion of the group and their love to protect the land,” Chang said on Tuesday, adding that the cicada season is due to end at the end of this month.

A team of student and faculty volunteers from the Taijiang campus and National University of Tainan went to the windbreak on Monday to conduct a population survey of the cicadas by counting the shells left behind in the forest.

The team issued a statement saying that its aim is to create a citizen-scientist group dedicated to understanding and protecting the national park.

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