Restoring a breeding colony for Chinese Crested Tern - Courtesy of Birdlife
Chinese Crested Tern (Sterna bernsteini) faces
greater threat of extinction than China's Giant Panda.
Credit Chen Lin/www.rarebirdsyearbook.com.
March 2013. In early March, an international workshop in Xiangshan, Zhejiang Province, China, marked the start of an ambitious plan to restore a network of breeding sites for the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern Sterna bernsteini, probably the world's most threatened seabird.
Rediscovered in 2004 - Eggs destroyed by typhoon and thieves
After more than half a century with no breeding records, four adults and four chicks were discovered in 2000 on the Mazu Islands (administered by Taipei) off the coast of China's Fujian Province. In 2004 another colony was found in the Jiushan Islands, off Zhejiang Province, but breeding failed after two typhoons hit the islands. No breeding birds were seen in the Jiushans until 2007, when eight Chinese Crested Terns and about 2,000 Greater Crested Terns returned. But the colony was raided by egg poachers, and terns have not nested there since.
In 2008 a new colony, believed to be the birds that nested earlier on the Jiushans, was discovered in the Wuzhishan Islands, 80 km to the north. They have returned to nest on the Wuzhishans annually, but nesting space has become limited, and the terns have started using less favourable sites. News of the terns has spread, increasing the risk of disturbance from photographers.