Endangered storks flock to Chinese reserve

Beijing, Oct 30 (IANS) Over 700 Oriental storks, an endangered water bird, have flocked to a nature reserve in China’s Heilongjiang province, the media reported on Friday.

According to Birdlife International, a global partnership of organizations that strives to conserve birds, the population of the large white birds with black wing feathers and long black bills is estimated at 3,000, the China Daily reported.

“We had never seen such a big aggregation before in our reserve,” said Cui Xingbo, a ranger at the Naolihe National Nature Reserve. “I haven’t heard of any bigger aggregation recorded from other nature reserves in the province.”

The ranger said that the stork is a regularly seen in the region’s wetlands, migrating in spring, breeding in summer, and heading south in autumn.

They have often recorded flocks with 100 to 200 birds earlier in the reserve, which covers more than 160,000 hectares.

“It’s certainly a good sign and proof of the reserve’s better conservation in recent years,” he said.

The reserve was established in July 2002, integrating three provincial reserves and a city reserve. The national reserve has provided a larger and better habitat to birds, Cui said.

The storks have been considered iconic species on the East Asia-Australia Flyway, a vast area stretching from the Arctic to Australia and New Zealand.

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