New legislation to protect wintering birds on major freshwater lake
A new legislation will be in effect on January 1, 2022, to protect migratory birds, especially Siberian cranes, on China's largest freshwater lake of Poyang.
The regulation passed at the 34th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th Jiangxi Provincial People's Congress will be the first provincial-level legislation in China for protecting migratory birds, according to the provincial forestry department Tuesday.
The regulation has a special chapter for the protection of Siberian cranes, with eight clauses focusing on the protection of the birds' food resources and living environment in the Poyang Lake.
According to the regulation, a red line is drawn to prohibit individuals and entities from moving or damaging the lowest water level marks in the core area of the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve without authorization.
Experts say that if the lake water is below the mark, it would harm the biodiversity in the core reserve area.
Siberian cranes were selected as the "provincial bird" of Jiangxi in 2019.
There are only around 4,000 Siberian cranes worldwide and the species is listed as "critically endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
"In recent years, Siberian cranes have become bolder and their activity range has become larger, extending from the reserve to the surrounding farmland, lotus pond and other areas," said Wu Xudong, deputy head of the administration bureau of the reserve.
"The local government has actively guided people living around the lake to plant supplementary food for cranes such as lotus root and Gordon Euryale seeds to keep the birds near the reserve area. The government purchases the produce in biodiversity subsidies," Wu added.
Six organizations from China, Russia and Mongolia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the conservation of the Siberian crane in Jiangxi in 2019. The participants pledged to work together to collect and share scientific data such as breeding areas, population size and different habitats of the rare species.
With a surface area of over 3,200 square km, Poyang Lake hosts up to 700,000 wintering birds every year.