Thursday, May 28 2020
All Cities
Choose Your City
'On the Eve of the First World War, the single Siberian province of Irkutsk was larger than all of India'
W.Bruce Lincoln

Rare Siberian Crane given special protection in Taiwan after getting lost

By Derek Lambie
09 June 2015

One-year-old bird has become a minor celebrity and attracts hundreds of visitors a week and even has its own Facebook page.

The one-year-old white bird – which is threatened with extinction - landed in the wetlands in the north of New Taipei five months ago. Picture: Chiu Ming-Yuan

A rare Siberian crane that got lost and accidentally migrated to Taiwan has been given a government guard after winning the hearts of local people.

The one-year-old white bird – which is threatened with extinction - landed in the wetlands in the north of New Taipei five months ago and immediately became a minor celebrity.

Managing to survive attacks from hawks and even stray dogs, the male crane is the first to ever land in Taiwan and has been given a coveted protection status.

Still in Taiwan today, the local government has hired a security detail to watch over the bird every day from 9am until 5pm, with more than 100 people a day going to see it.

The site now has a video camera set up to allow people to watch it and there is even a fan page for the crane on Facebook, organised by a non-governmental organisation.

Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan

'We thought the crane might leave this spring but unfortunately it is still around.' Pictures: Chiu Ming-Yuan, 金山小白鶴

'The government and people have done a lot to ensure the safe stay of the crane,' said well-known ornithologist Tzung-Su Ding, an associate professor at the School of Forestry and Resource Conservation at National Taiwan University.

'The most complete and up-to-date information about it is kept on the Facebook page, where volunteers write a daily log on all its activities.'

The crane, which lives in eastern Russia, normally migrates to Poyang Lake in central China for the winter. But its normal winter habitat has been damaged as a result of construction for the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze.

It is likely to have become disorientated and flew instead to the Chingshui Wetland in Jinshan on December 13, three days after stopping on Pengjia Islet north of Keelung. There is also a theory that the young bird may have become separated from the rest of its flock.

Since its arrival in Taiwan, it has been a popular attraction for visitors, not least because of its graceful dance-like movements. Some bird watchers have even flown in from as far away as Australia just to catch a glimpse of it.

Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan

Since its arrival in Taiwan, it has been a popular attraction for visitors, not least because of its graceful dance-like movements. Pictures: Chiu Ming-Yuan, 金山小白鶴

As well as a number of natural predators, and fending off the odd attack from dogs, the crane's tranquil time in the wetland has also been interrupted by a film crew shooting a TV drama. During one scene, an ambulance with a loud siren temporarily scared the bird away.

In protest, local school children formed a human chain around the crane to protect it, and the film crew was fined for shooting scenes near a protected area without a permit.

Professor Ding has been monitoring the crane's movements and sharing information with ornithologists in Russia, as well as China and the United States.

But he said the bird may have to stay in Taiwan for the foreseeable future, particularly since the region is affected by bird flu and officials do not wish to risk a spread of the disease, or place the crane in danger.

He told the Siberian Times: 'We thought the crane might leave this spring but unfortunately it is still around.

'We discussed the possibility of escorting the bird back to its breeding or wintering grounds. But any international transfer of the Siberian Crane needs approval of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and Taiwan is an infected area of avian flu making it virtually impossible to send it back to Siberia or China. So we can only wait and see.'

Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan


Siberian crane in Taiwan

'It's our duty as citizens of the planet to ensure our guest enjoys another winter here safely so it will be able to re-join its flock and fly back to the north and have its own offspring.' Pictures: Chiu Ming-Yuan, 金山小白鶴

Security guards, employed by the Forestry Bureau under the jurisdiction of the Council of Agriculture, are likely to shorten their time watching over the bird as it grows older.

However, legislator Lee Ching-hua, of the ruling Nationalist party, urged the Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji to keep the protection in place indefinitely. Mr Bao-ji responded by saying he was open to the suggestion and stressed he wanted to ensure the rare bird was able to 'live an independent life.'

Wildlife protection groups in Taiwan are also urging people to keep a watch over the bird.

Documentary maker Chang Po-chun said: 'It's our duty as citizens of the planet to ensure our guest enjoys another winter here safely so it will be able to re-join its flock and fly back to the north and have its own offspring.'

Comments (1)

may check this film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0Iq9_iVn9E
Patrik, tw
11/06/2015 08:26
0
0
1

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


News

Features

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR77.91USD71.06GBP87.47Other...