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Taiwan, South Korea collaborate on black-faced spoonbill research

2012/06/21 19:17:35

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) Bird experts from Taiwan and South Korea recently collaborated for the first time to study black-faced spoonbills, a rare migratory bird species that travels between the two countries each year, according to a Taiwanese national park Thursday.

Earlier this month, Wang Ying, a National Taiwan Normal University professor, and Leu Teng-yuan, director of Taijiang National Park Headquarters in Tainan, flew to South Korea to join local and Japanese groups in a joint visit to an islet off the country's west coast, a known spoonbill breeding area, the park's management said.

During the visit, the Taiwanese experts helped to attach a satellite transmitter to a chick in order to learn more about spoonbill migratory patterns, the park added.

The visit was part of a program launched by the Tainan national park, a major habitat for the bird during its stay in Taiwan, to track the endangered birds, which winter in southern Taiwan.

The program was initiated against the backdrop of a report claiming a 27 percent decline in the birds' global population was recorded last year, park officials said, adding the greater Tainan area saw a 34 percent decrease in the number of birds that migrated there last year.

In late March, a Taiwanese research team attached wireless transmitters on four birds and satellite transmitters on another two in Tainan in mid-April. The wireless transmitters can track thebirds in Taiwan, while the satellite transmitters can trackthem in areas outside Taiwan, such as Hong Kong, the Philippines,and Vietnam.

The national park also hopes its program can be extended to Chongming Dongtan Birds Nature Reserve in Shanghai, which signed a collaboration agreement on spoonbill research with the Taiwan park in May.

Published in January 2011, the annual spoonbill report ranked Taiwan as the most important migratory spot for the endangered species during the winter.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Kendra Lin)