More endangered migratory baby cranes arrive in northwest China wetlands
Web Editor:International Daily
With the onset of the cold season, myriad of migratory birds including an increasing number of the baby white cranes -- a critically endangered species -- are arriving in wetlands in northeast China's Jilin province for temporary rest en route to the warmer south for the winter.Since October, the Momoge wetlands in Jilin's Zhenlai county has become a popular habitat for wintering birds heading southward. Species spotted in the area over the past few weeks include the common wild geese and swans, as well as rare ones such as white cranes and hooded cranes."Temporarily staying here in Zhenlai now in migration to the south are more than white cranes, which are a flagship species for us. The number should have topped 2,300 so far. Also temporarily staying here in southward migration are more than 2,000 grey cranes, and more than 700 hooded cranes," said Pan Shengyu, member of the scientific research standing committee of China Wildlife Conservation Association.White cranes are critically endangered species with only around 4,000 left worldwide. While the mother cranes lay one or two eggs a year, the surviving rate for the baby birds is around 50 percent, which is partially due to the prolonged and wearisome migratory routes.But much to the surprise of the scientists, the proportion of baby cranes spotted in Zhenlai, which used to be between eight to 10 percent of the total population in the past, has shown significant growth so far this year."Last year, the proportion of baby white cranes exceeded the average annual total. This year, our initial estimates suggest, based on the population that have showed up here in Zhenlai, the proportion of baby cranes has surpassed 13 percent, and even 20 percent for some smaller groups. This was very rare in the past," Pan added.Some possible explanations for the increase in the proportion of baby cranes include the abundant rainfall throughout the summer in the region that has helped to restore some area of the wetland bodies, and the plenty of crops for food scattered across the area from the just concluded summer harvest season.