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Siberian daily thanks Taiwan for protecting lone Siberian crane

Siberian daily thanks Taiwan for protecting lone Siberian crane

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) A Russian newspaper on Wednesday ran a long feature story about Taiwan's efforts at protecting a young Siberian crane which flew into a north Taiwan wetland after getting lost in December last year. The Siberian Times' story, by Derek Lambie, said the one-year-old bird has become a minor celebrity and attracts hundreds of visitors a week and even has its own Facebook page. The white bird -- which is threatened with extinction -- landed in the wetlands in the north of New Taipei five months ago, said the report. It has since been given a government guard after winning the hearts of local people, said the report. Managing to survive attacks from hawks and even stray dogs, the male crane is the first ever to land in Taiwan and has been given a "coveted protection status," said the daily. It noted that the local government has hired a security detail to watch over the bird every day from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., 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, organized by a non-governmental organization, the Siberian Times said. "The government and people have done a lot to ensure the safe stay of the crane," the daily quoted well-known ornithologist Ding Tzung-su, 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," said Ding. 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 River. It is likely to have become disorientated and flew instead to the Chingshui Wetland in Jinshan on Dec. 13, 2014, 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. Ding 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," he said 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." The Siberian Times report earned praise from a reader in Canada: "Such a heart warming article. The last photograph reminded me of the great Maya Plisetskaya dancing 'The Dying Swan.' Indeed, thank you, Taiwan. E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta Canada28/05/2015." The newspaper's own Facebook page ran a special column to share this story, with the comment: "We love you, people of Taiwan." (By Ma Chia-ying and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2022-01-23 06:58 GMT+08:00

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