Animal advocates yesterday criticized the Kaohsiung City Government, saying it ignored the destruction of a prime bird habitat by an unauthorized construction on Fengshan Hill (鳳山丘陵) in Siaogang District (小港).
The Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society said the municipal government, or at least the Kaohsiung Urban Development Bureau, appears not to have known about the clearing of woodland that began months ago.
Representatives from the society and the city government on Monday inspected Camel Hill (駱駝山), a part of Fengshan Hill that is known as a prime bird habitat, and found that six to seven hectares of woodland stretching to Fengshan Reservoir (鳳山水庫) had been cleared.
“The woods were an important habitat for birds. The construction had an immediate effect on the local bird population and the environment. Birds such as light-vented bulbuls and Japanese white-eyes have disappeared from the area,” society executive officer Lin Kun-hai (林昆海) said.
The bureau said the plot of land, although privately owned, was set aside for urban projects and can only be developed for limited purposes, with the city’s approval.
The bureau said that it was unaware of the construction until Monday.
However, aerial images on Google Maps showed that the construction work began in March, and local residents filed reports with the police and the Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau a few months ago, Lin said.
“The police and the Environmental Protection Bureau apparently knew about the situation, but they did not tell other government agencies, so the construction was able to continue. Something is clearly wrong with the city government’s channels of communication,” he said.
Lin said the society was informed of large-scale ground grading work in the area last week, adding that the work appears to be unlicensed, because no information board had been erected at the site.
Although the owner of the land has said he filed an application with the Kaohsiung Agriculture Bureau to turn the site into a recreational farm, the construction was not authorized and the owner would be fined the maximum of NT$300,000 and ordered to restore the site, the Urban Development Bureau said.
Camel Hill is the first stop for dozens of species of birds of prey that visit Taiwan in spring, and is home to protected species such as gray-faced buzzards, Chinese sparrowhawks and Japanese sparrowhawks, Lin said.
The hill and Changhua County’s Baguashan (八卦山) are the nation’s largest habitats for Chinese sparrowhawks and about 30,000 to 40,000 Chinese sparrowhawks and 5,000 to 6,000 gray-faced buzzards could be observed on Camel Hill every year, he said.
Crested goshawks, besras, peregrine falcons, common kestrels and crested honey buzzards are also commonly seen on Camel Hill, and the damage to the habitat is expected to affect those birds next year, he said.
Camel Hill is also beset by illegal waste dumping, as waste and construction debris has been found in the area, even though the city government knows the ecological importance of the area, since the Freeway No. 7 project was rerouted to avoid damaging bird habitats on Camel Hill, he said.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung