Approximately 50 percent of the 2,065 black-faced spoonbills in the world are spending this winter in Taiwan, with the number of the endangered birds migrating here this year exceeding 1,000 for the first time, the Wild Bird Society Federation Taiwan said.
Kuo Tung-hui (郭東輝), president of the federation, said in a news release on Wednesday that last year only 790 of the birds visited the country.
Black-faced spoonbills are one of the world's rarest birds and are on the verge of extinction. They live predominantly in East Asia, with their main breeding area being the Koreas and their wintering area covering Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam.
The record number of the birds wintering in Taiwan this year, estimated at 1,030, could be the result of conservation efforts, with the population of birds steadily rising in recent years.
Results of the latest international census on the birds conducted simultaneously in various regions between Jan. 11 and Jan. 13 showed that the global population this year increased 22 percent from last year's figure of 1,695, Kuo said.
Efforts to save the birds have meant that the global population grew from 969 in 2002 to 1,475 in 2005, and then rose to the current figure.
Increasing numbers were also recorded in other wintering areas, with Hong Kong and Shenzhen receiving 369 vivting birds, 313 along the coastline of China and 224 in Japan, Kuo said.
Cross-regional efforts among different governments and non-governmental organizations have contributed greatly to increasing the number of birds, he said.
Comprehensive conservation measures, rising awareness of environmental protection and the use of the black-faced spoonbill as a feature in wild bird conservation documentation, also have provided strong support for protection of the bird, Kuo said.
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