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Taiwan military urged to work with bird specialists

2012/05/18 18:27:03

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Taiwan's military should work with migratory bird specialists to decrease the incidence of bird-aircraft collisions, an Israeli bird researcher said at an international conference in Taipei Friday.

Speaking at the 2012 Taiwan Israel International Conference on Migrating Birds, Yossi Leshem, a renowned ornithologist from Tel Aviv University, said that his experience in cooperating with the Israeli Air Force could be applied to Taiwan and help save the lives of birds and even humans.

Bird migration routes are a useful reference for the military in avoiding air accidents, and since his development of a bird migration map 30 years ago in Israel, bird-aircraft collisions there have dropped 76 percent, saving about US$800 million in costs, he said.

Leshem's speech also addressed the theme of birds as peacemakers in the Middle East, saying that he wanted to use bird watching to change people's impression of Israel, a country often associated with conflict.

To put his vision into practice, the 64-year-old founder and director of the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration in Israel has arranged educational projects with various institutions in Palestine, Jordan and other countries in the Middle East.

Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang, who was also at the conference, said Leshem's achievements are a good demonstration of smart power because they seek to bridge people and deepen mutual understanding through peaceful means.

Earlier Friday, Leshem met with senior Taiwan military officials and President Ma Ying-jeou to share his ideas. He was also invited to attend Ma's inauguration on May 20.

(By Nancy Liu)