Chinese elephants saved from reservoir

This video says about itself:

Wild elephants rescued from reservoir in SW China

12 October 2016

Three wild Asian elephants, two adults and a baby, were trapped in a reservoir in southwest China’s Yunnan Province for more than two days, which may cause them to choke on the water and die from hunger.

Rescuers tried many ways and finally managed to save these endangered animals on Tuesday by digging out a path from one side of the pond.

Dutch NOS TV writes today about this (translated):

Over two days, they were stuck in a five-meter deep tank: two wild adult elephants and a baby elephant. Foresters found the animals in south[western] China after getting information from locals, but could not immediately launch a rescue operation because of heavy rains.

Probably the baby elephant first fell in a tank full of water and its parents then fell in a rescue attempt. Images on Chinese state TV show how other elephants ran around the edge of the reservoir. In order to save the trapped animals, the other elephants first had to be driven away with firecrackers.

Eventually, rescue workers with a backhoe demolished the wall of the tank, and the elephants could get out.

23 baby giant pandas, video

This video from China says about itself:

23 Baby Pandas Make Debut at southwest China Breeding Base

29 sep. 2016

Twenty-three giant panda cubs made their public debut at a panda base in southwest China’s Chengdu City on Thursday, offering the cutest scene one can imagine.

The baby pandas, aged one to four months, were all born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding this year.

“I think this is just about the cutest thing in the entire world. I never imagine there will be so many baby pandas in one place,” said a U.S. tourist named Aaron.

“I thought they were toys because they were lying there motionless. Then I realized they were cute baby pandas,” said Zheng Shuo, a tourist from central China’s Hunan Province.

This year, experts from the base also witnessed the birth of another four pandas overseas, raising the total number of the base’s newborn pandas to 27, a rare record since the establishment of the base.

The number of this year’s newborn pandas at the base has almost doubled that last year. Experts attribute this to the improvement in breeding technology.

“We used to mate the pandas by observing their behaviors to decide the timing for mating. But now we combine behavior observation with endocrine analysis to get more accurate timing, thus ensuring a fairly high breeding rate,” said Wu Kongju, animal management director at the base.

What’s more, among the 27 newborn pandas there are 10 pairs of twins, accounting for 74 percent of the total.

Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the base has bred 176 giant pandas, the world’s largest artificially-bred giant panda population.

Read more here.

Great spoon-billed sandpiper news from China

This video says about itself:

11 October 2011

As the tide returns, thousands of shorebirds rush to forage upon the remaining flat before setting off to roost. A Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper is found moving within this particular flock.

The other birds are mainly dunlin; others are said to be Temmincks’ stints, little stints, long-toed stints, and Kentish plovers.

From BirdLife:

Record-breaking wintering numbers of Spoon-billed Sandpipers in China

By Adrian Long, Thu, 25/02/2016 – 08:40

Record numbers of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a Critically Endangered shorebird, have been discovered wintering in China, says conservationists from the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS, BirdLife International Partner in China).

On 30 December 2015, HKBWS volunteers Jonathan Martinez and John Allcock found at least 30 Spoon-billed Sandpipers near the Fucheng Estuary in south-west Guangdong Province, some of this land is located within the Zhanjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve. This was the highest number ever found in China during winter, but the record did not even last a month.

At the end of January further coordinated counts in Guangdong Province, including members from the Zhanjiang Bird Watching Society and staff from the Zhanjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve Management Bureau. Together they counted at least 45 individuals from a four locations, with Fucheng Estuary having the highest count (38 individuals).

Jonathan Martinez, commented: ”These numbers are a massive increase on just three individuals counted at Fucheng during our inaugural mid-winter survey in 2012. That year, we found long lines of mist-nets were found flanking shorebird roost sites. We counted hundreds of dead birds, and literally thousand of nets”.

Since then the Zhanjiang Bird Watching Society, and government officials from the Zhanjiang Forestry Department have taken sustained measures to clear the illegal mist nets. In addition, there were educational activities carried out by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and Zhanjiang Bird Watching Society to help raising awareness to the local communities.

“Our work has made Fucheng mudflat an attractive place for Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other waterbirds”, says Jonathan Martinez. The estuary in Fucheng is clearly of global importance for the species”.

Seven of the Guangdong birds were marked with coloured flags or rings on their legs. One of this was tagged with white leg flag engraved “MA”, this bird was also recorded last winter in the same place. The unique markings enable individual birds to be tracked as they travel along the East Asian—Australasian Flyway.

“As most of the individual birds found here are marked in Russia it also is becoming very important for development of cooperation conservation work along the lines of bilateral agreement on migratory birds signed by both the governments of China and Russia, for which SBS is the key model species”, said the Chair of the SBS Task Force Dr Evgeny Syroechkovskiy.

The global population of Spoon-billed Sandpiper numbers fewer than 400 adult birds. A large proportion were already known to use coastal wetlands in China whilst on passage between breeding grounds in Russia and principal wintering quarters in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

“With other known sites still to be surveyed we hope that further wintering Spoon-billed Sandpipers will be discovered in Guangdong and South China”, says Jonathan.

“This newly discovered wintering location is the third known biggest one in the world. This again proves exceptional importance of China for the survival of this Critically Endangered species”, commented Evgeny.

The actions to stop the illegal trapping have been supported with a grant from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF).

BirdLife’s Spoon-billed Sandpiper work has been helped by numerous supporters. Birdfair– Global Sponsor of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme, Heritage Expeditions, WildSoundsThe Dutch Birding Association and VBN (BirdLife in the Netherlands)The David & Lucile Packard FoundationDisney Friends for ChangeThe CMS SecretariatThe MBZ FoundationSave Our Species, Ed Keeble and the many other generous individuals have all become BirdLife Species Champions or Programme Supporters under the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme helping this species.

The Conservation breeding project is supported by WWT, RSPB, the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative and SOS – Save our Species, with additional financial contributions and support from BirdLife International, the East Asian— Australasian Flyway Partnership, the Convention on Migratory Species, Heritage Expeditions, the Australasian Wader Study Group of Birds Australia, the BBC Wildlife Fund, Avios, the Olive Herbert Charitable Trust, the Oriental Bird Club, British Airways Communities & Conservation Scheme, New Zealand Department of Conservation, the Queensland Wader Study Group, New South Wales Wader Study Group, Chester Zoo and many generous individuals.

Chinese crested terns discovery in Indonesia

This 2014 video is called The Bird of Legend: Chinese Crested Tern.

From BirdLife:

Survey confirms Chinese Crested Terns in Indonesia

By Ed Parnell, Tue, 09/02/2016 – 08:45

A survey team led by Burung Indonesia (BirdLife in Indonesia) and BirdLife’s Asia Division has confirmed a wintering site of the globally threatened Chinese Crested Tern Thalasseus bernsteini in eastern Indonesia.

At least one adult and possibly one first-year Chinese Crested Tern were seen in a flock of up to 250 Greater Crested Terns T. bergii near Seram Island (approximately midway between Sulawesi and Papua). Threats to the site and the birds were assessed in detail during the one-week survey that was carried out in mid-January 2016, and the team also visited local university and government institutions to raise awareness of the nearby presence of this Critically Endangered seabird.

Despite its name, the Chinese Crested Tern was first found near Halmahera, in the Wallacea region of eastern Indonesia. However, since its discovery in 1861 the species had not subsequently been recorded in Indonesia (apart from an unverified record in Bali) until December 2010, when a lone bird was photographed near Seram. As a result of this initial sighting (and further reports in 2014/15), BirdLife and Burung Indonesia believed the area to perhaps be a regular wintering site. A survey team was formed, including local conservationists and three university students from Hong Kong.

“Although the number of Chinese Crested Terns found during the survey is low, it does confirm that the species is a regular wintering bird to the Seram Sea, and it is very likely that Wallacea is a main wintering area for this species. As the local authorities and community are starting to be aware of and feel proud of its presence, it will surely only be a matter of time before more sightings are reported from the region,” said Simba Chan, adding that more surveys and outreach work are planned by BirdLife around Seram in the future.

“The involvement of local communities in conservation actions is one of Burung’s main strategies,” added Ria Saryanthi, Head of Communication and Knowledge Center, Burung Indonesia. Burung has been focusing its work in the Wallacea region which includes Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas, since it was established in 2002.

It is also hoped that another recent project – in China itself – may help to build more knowledge of this little-known species. In August 2015 some 31 crested tern chicks (probably all Greater Crested Terns, which share the colony with their rarer relatives) were banded at Tiedun Dao, the largest Chinese Crested Tern colony. The birds were ringed with numbered red bands, the first step in a systematic study that aims to investigate the movements of the colony’s terns.

Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCFHK) Foundation Director Ms. Suzanne Gendron said, “The Foundation has been supporting the conservation efforts on Chinese crested terns since 2008.  We are excited to know that after years of efforts, there is a higher hope for the recovery of this critically endangered species. I believe our sponsored students benefit from and are inspired by Mr. Simba Chan’s passion and experience.

Turtle smuggling discovered in China

This video says about itself:

12 February 2012

A total of 79 illegal alien live turtles were intercepted by inspection and quarantine authorities Saturday at an airport in Shanghai, east China.

From Xinhua news agency in China today:

Thousands of smuggled turtles seized in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, Jan. 31 — Shanghai customs said Sunday they seized more than 2,000 endangered turtles last November in what could be the city’s largest turtle smuggling case.

Customs officials said they discovered large numbers of live turtles hidden in six containers of crabs imported from Indonesia on Nov. 19. The containers were claimed by a Shanghai company.

Most of the turtles were endangered species including Amboina box turtle, pig-nosed turtle and spotted pond turtle.

The turtles are now in the care of local zoos, officials said.

The customs did not give more details, saying the investigation was still underway.

Environmentalists have warned China’s rising market for rare and exotic pets, such as turtles and snakes, has fueled smuggling.