Mudflats decision safeguards migratory birds

By Chen Liang in Yancheng, Jiangsu | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-17 07:04
A flock of red-crowned cranes gather in a field in the Yancheng Rare Birds National Nature Reserve. [Photo by Chen Guoyuan/For China Daily]

World Heritage Site boosts area in Jiangsu

Two years after he retired in 2014, Zhu Xianwen became a wetland protection consultant in a coastal township of Jiangsu province.

Zhu, 65, worked as a fisherman and in fishery management for most of his adult life.

He now promotes the importance of wetland protection for marine and migratory birds among fishermen. To improve conditions for migratory birds, he has even persuaded some of the fishermen to return their ponds to the local government.

Zhu's work coincided with his hometown's inclusion in July as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site-the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I).

Until three years ago, he had no idea that the intertidal mudflats near his hometown, Jinggang township in Yancheng, would become one of the core zones of the heritage site.

Zhu said that he knew that the mudflats area facing the Yellow Sea, known locally as Tiaozini, was rich in fish, crabs and clams.

Food has attracted many birds to the area, he said.

However, he never thought that the mudflats would become so important to migratory birds, resulting in their being listed as part of a World Heritage Site.

The Jiangsu provincial government has dropped its ambitious plan to reclaim 66,667 hectares of mudflats in Yancheng, a large part of which overlaps with Tiaozini.

"Being a World Heritage Site will save our mudflats from land reclamation, which in turn will ensure fishermen's livelihoods for generations," Zhu said."To be honest, that's why I am willing to work for the cause of conservation."

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