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China Daily Global / 2021-05 / 21 / Page016

Countries unite to save wildlife, preserve nature

By SONG MENGXING | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-21 00:00

International cooperation to protect crested ibises has promoted the birds' conservation and helped to foster China's friendship with other countries and regions, insiders said.

The birds have become another diplomacy highlight for China after the giant panda and attracted much attention from around the world.

Since crested ibises were discovered in Hanzhong's Yangxian county in 1981, they have not only been valued by the Chinese government and wild animal protection groups, but have drawn attention from countries such as Japan and international protection organizations.

Since 1984, some organizations and agencies, including Japan's Ministry of the Environment, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Wide Fund for Nature, or the World Wildlife Fund, have provided for the birds' protection and feeding, devices for incubation, monitoring and communication, vehicles and technical assistance for free.

This alleviated a lack of protection expenditure and equipment and promoted China's protection of the birds.

International cooperation in protecting the birds has also laid a foundation for population recovery in different countries.

China has offered crested ibises to Japan and South Korea and sent technicians there to share technologies associated with the birds' feeding and breeding.

Those birds, named after places in Yangxian, not only carried friendship of the Chinese people to overseas regions but bred offspring there.

Yangxian hosted the first Crested Ibis International Forum on May 23,2018.

Zhuang Changxing, then chief of Shaanxi province's publicity department, said the number and distribution of crested ibises have increased over the past 30-plus years.

This has set an example of saving endangered species and laid a foundation for cooperation among China, Japan, South Korea and Northeast Asia.

During a crested ibis culture exhibition at the G20 Summit in Osaka in June 2019, a communication delegation from Shaanxi visited Sado, known as the home of crested ibises in Japan. The birds have a high profile in Sado: it boasts a crested ibistheme avenue, forest park and data library as well as diverse products, such as crested ibis-branded milk, ice cream and desserts.

Back in Yangxian, the birds have become a symbol in schools, helping to teach students the importance of protecting the environment.

Students from the Qingnianlu Primary School have drawn diverse crested ibis pictures, including fan paintings and woodblock paintings.

Cultural creativity on crested ibises has helped to guide Hanzhong's industrial innovation and development, local media reported.

On April 30, an outdoor market opened on Hanzhong's Tianhan Long Street, a landmark cultural tourism project near the Hanjiang River.

It offers a performance where children dressed as crested ibises walked on stilts, an intangible cultural heritage item in Hanzhong.

The stilts are decorated like branches and the show is named Little Crested Ibis on Branches.

Niu Youqing, general manager of the project, said he had been touched by a dance performance named Crested Ibis at this year's China Central Television's Spring Festival Gala. So he decided to use the birds as the theme for this year's market.


Paintings by students from Qingnianlu Primary School show their love for the birds and nature. TIAN CHI/CHINA DAILY



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