Across China: Relocation ensures better homes for endangered cranes-Xinhua _IM体育-亚洲和欧洲最佳的体育博彩平台



Across China: Relocation ensures better homes for endangered cranes

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-06-05 14:49:45

Red-crowned cranes are pictured in the Zhalong National Nature Reserve in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, May 30, 2023. (Xinhua/Yang Zhe)

HARBIN, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Over the past six years since Xu Tao's departure from his home village, occasional returns have revealed a familiar sight -- the enduring presence of a lightning-struck tree that seemingly remains unaltered.

However, he did spot a slight change lately as the tree now hosts bird nests, symbolizing the enhanced ecology of Zhaokai Village of Qiqihar City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Zhaokai Village is at the core area of the Zhalong National Nature Reserve, which is home to hundreds of rare birds, including eight species under national first-class protection.

Covering an area of 210,000 hectares, the nature reserve, which is dubbed the "home of red-crowned cranes" in China, is the world's largest habitat and reproduction base of wild red-crowned cranes.

Xu Tao, 46, spent his formative years enthralled by the calls of the cranes.

About 15 years ago, the village was without electricity and adequate road infrastructure, rendering it secluded from the outside world. Xu vividly recalls the arduous journey of traveling for over three hours by punt to reach areas where roads existed.

Xu's parents, together with most of the other villagers, lived on fishing and growing reed but such human activities seriously affected the birds. The local population had encroached upon the cranes' food sources and the environment began to deteriorate as a result of the human activities.

In 2017, more than 900 people from nearly 300 households in two villages, including Xu and his family, were relocated as part of a government scheme to protect the colony of red-crowned cranes.

As part of this project, nearly 1,500 people from some 500 households have been relocated over the past years, with the aim of returning the habitat to the birds.

They have been resettled in the neighboring Halawusu Village, where they now reside in mostly four-story apartment buildings. The new community offers amenities such as a football pitch and a public square, providing opportunities for sports and exercise. Additionally, the proximity of a nearby primary school ensures convenient access to education for families.

Xu's new home is just five kilometers away from Zhaokai Village, a mere 20-minute drive. In the past, however, he had to endure a two to three-hour boat ride to reach his destination.

Although Xu appreciated the newfound convenience, he couldn't help but feel a tinge of nostalgia for the cranes that had accompanied him throughout his childhood. As a result, he took up the job of a ranger in the Zhalong National Nature Reserve.

According to Gao Zhongyan who works with the nature reserve, locals have already reached the consensus to protect red-crowned cranes and biodiversity in the wetland.

"We are combining protection and relocation to help increase the population of red-crowned cranes in the wild," Gao said.

Efforts have also been ramped up in the nature reserve to improve the infrastructure and scientific research facilities. The water area there has been expanded from 130 square kilometers to 600.

To date, more than 380 red-crowned cranes bred in captivity have been released into the wild.

Currently, the population of captive-bred red-crowned cranes in the reserve stands at around 600, while the number of the cranes in the wild there is about 300.

Xu cherishes a photo on his mobile phone, capturing a red-crowned crane perched gracefully on an abandoned boat. The boat had previously served as their means of leaving the village.

"Now that we have left, the cranes are back," he said. "We both have better homes."

Red-crowned cranes are pictured in the Zhalong National Nature Reserve in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, May 30, 2023. (Xinhua/Yang Zhe)