Rising lake levels in China threaten migratory birds

Beijing, Nov 27 (IANS) Migratory birds in China’s largest freshwater lake are facing starvation as water levels continue rising due to rare winter flooding.

Continuous winter storms have caused a sudden swelling of Poyang lake, located in east Jiangxi Province, Xinhua news agency reported.

As of Friday, the water level stood at 14.51 metres, compared to the average 11.19 metres during the same period in previous years, according to the provincial water hydrographic bureau.

Staff at the Poyang Lake nature reserve said migratory birds usually look for food in the marsh land close to the water line. The rising water levels have inundated some of the birds’ habitat, damaging food resources.

“At least 100,000 birds, living on water plants, fish and shrimp, are facing the threat of starvation,” Li Chunru, head of the Poyang Lake migratory bird hospital, said.

“The population of birds there has dropped from 13,000 to 3,000 recently, as many that were starving were forced to leave.”

Local villagers said that they have seen birds flying to their farmland and fish ponds for food, Li added.

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