As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Saving a rare duck an urbanization dilemma

2016-10-09 09:42
CCTV Editor: Feng Shuang 

Urbanization often pits development against the environment. And in Xinjiang, one of the victims is the white-headed duck. The duck is one of the rarest birds in the world. Bird-Life International, the world's largest nature conservation partnership, estimated in 2008 that the duck's world population was only somewhere between 8,000 to 13,000. A small group of these ducks have been found at a small lake, just ten kilometers from the regional capital Urumqi.

In today's episode, reporter Han Bin meets a group of conservation volunteers. Their struggle with local developers and ordinary people, will decide the fate of this endangered species in China.

Hidden among the densely populated urban areas, is a small patch of wetland. The lake is home to some one hundred species of birds. At least one of them is under threat.

"The white-headed duck is on the world's list of endangered species. It's not been registered in China, so cannot be protected by law. It's also a star species, as it's the prototype of Disney's Donald Duck," Yan Xi, volunteer from Wild Xinjiang, said.

"How can we have such a fine-looking species? -with a white head, blue bill, and stiff tail," Da Xiang, volunteer from Wild Xinjiang, said.

This habitat provides the ducks with the resources to reproduce. But someone else wants their home. Construction is rapidly eroding the wetland.

There have been so many vehicles, people who go to the lake for outings, or even to play with slingshots.

Yan Xi and Da Xiang belong to a group of local volunteers who have appointed themselves the ducks' protectors. Their short-term goal is to have all 24 ducks make it to migration season at the end of October.

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