Taipei, April 13 (CNA) To protect migratory birds that pass through Taiwan in the spring, Kinmen National Park police began Friday to step up efforts to track down illegal bird nets in the scenic park, especially in the Cihu Lake area.
The Kinmen National Park Police Department has received reports since March that birds such as besra sparrow hawks have died after getting tangled up in illegal bird nets set up by farmers, and it wants to halt the practice because of the birds' importance to Kinmen.
The island's geographic location makes it part of a major migration route for birds in East Asia, with populations peaking in April during the spring migratory season.
Those birds have now become one of the island's main tourism draws and need to be protected, park officials said.
In using illegal nets to catch birds, the farmers may actually be doing themselves a disservice because many birds that live or hunt around farms in the area feed on crop pests rather than eating the crops being cultivated.
The nets, in effect, greatly impair nature's pest control mechanism, park officials said.
Another concern for park administrators has been the practice of illegally capturing fish and shrimps with nets in the Cihu Lake area, which is destroying the lake's ecological system and affecting bird activity in the area.
The Cihu Lake area is characterized by its salty, or brackish, water rich in marine life. One of its main attractions are the 10,000 great cormorants that come from the northern Amur River or southern part of Lake Baikal in Russia every November and leave in April or May the following year.
(By Chen Shou-kuo and C.J. Lin)