A fundraising campaign aimed at helping a critically endangered bird that migrates to Taiwan’s outlying Matsu islands each summer has raised almost half of its target in less than two weeks, a bird conservation group said yesterday.
The Wild Bird Society of Taipei said that it had raised NT$456,611 (US$16,490) for Chinese crested tern (Thalasseus bernsteini) conservation as of yesterday morning, less than two weeks after it began an online campaign on Dec. 18.
The crested tern has a yellow beak with a black tip. It has been listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with only 100 of the birds estimated to be living in the wild, the society said.
Photo courtesy of Caichang International via CNA
The society said it hopes to raise NT$1 million by March 17 to install CCTV cameras on Tiejian Island (鐵尖島) in the Matsu archipelago, where a group of Chinese crested terns makes its home from May to September each year after traveling from Southeast Asia to breed.
The Chinese crested tern has been having difficulties laying eggs on the island for the past two years due to the operations of nearby fishing vessels, the society said, adding that light emitted from vessels frightens the birds, disrupts their egg-laying and causes some to leave the island.
The birds are also facing a food shortage because of a disappearing fish population, along with pollution created by trash floating around the island, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Wild Bird Society of Taipei via CNA
The society launched a research program in 2008 in collaboration with a team led by National Taiwan University professor Yuan Hsiao-wei (袁孝維).
Installing cameras on the island should allow for better monitoring of threats, the society said, adding that they would allow the group to intervene when events that pose a danger to the birds occur.
Funding is also to be allocated to recruit staff to conduct monitoring and to hire local vessels to patrol the island’s coast, the society said.
The campaign could also finance the installation of life-sized bird models in a move that the society said would help attract more Chinese crested terns to the island for breeding.
The society also plans to launch a nationwide tour to promote bird conservation in Taiwan.
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